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EU Transport commissioner Violetta Bulc visits North Sea Port

Published on Tue 18 Sep 2018
On Sunday, 16 September North Sea Port received the visit of the - enthusiastic, we may add – EU Transport commissioner Violetta Bulc. As a matter of fact, North Sea Port is centrally located in Europa at two European corridors that link the north and the south of Europe.

Bigger seagoing vessels through the New Lock

In Terneuzen, the Slovene EU commissioner visited the building site of the New Lock. This way, she was able to observe that through this new lock the maritime access to the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal will be enlarged. Europe is supporting this project with a contribution of 48 million euros. In 2022, the first ship will be sailing through the New Lock.

Seine-Scheldt project for bigger inland vessels to Paris

Also the Seine-Scheldt project was discussed. The French government plans to construct a canal of more than 100 kilometres in length in the North of France from the Belgian border in the direction of Paris. By way of this canal, bigger inland vessels – up to no less than 4,500 tons – will be able to sail until Paris. To North Sea Port this means a bigger market for building materials, among other things.

Port merger is example of cross-border cooperation

During a tour by boat from Terneuzen to Ghent, she was told the story of the North Sea Port merger. As a matter of fact, this cross-border merger – of the Flemish Ghent Port company and the Dutch Zeeland Seaports (Flushing and Terneuzen) – is exceptional. For Europe, this merger is an example of cooperation across country borders in view of more employment and a smoother transport by inland navigation and rail and with European support. It is with pleasure that North Sea Port is taking note of these words spoken by Violetta Bulc.

Cross-border rail connection

Furthermore, cross-border railway connections were discussed in order to better open up North Sea Port by rail. A new railway line is to be constructed between Terneuzen and Zelzate. At this moment, a number of studies are being carried out into the possibilities and feasibility of this new rail and the optimisation of the existing cross-border railway network. Also possible passenger transport by rail between Ghent and Zelzate is covered by these studies of ‘Rail Ghent-Terneuzen’. The rail connection between Flushing and Antwerp was also discussed.

North Sea Port is hub in European transport network

North Sea Port owes its strong position equally to its good multimodal access by seagoing navigation, inland shipping, road transport, rail and pipelines. North Sea Port is an important hub in the European transport network from North to South and is connected to both the ‘North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor’ and the ‘Rhine-Alpine Corridor’.

North Sea Port is the tenth port of Europe as for seaborne cargo traffic and the number three for added value.

The visit by the EU commissioner was part of the European ‘Mobility Week’, the starting shot of which was given in Ghent.