North Sea Port builds sustainable quay for river cruises in Ghent

Published on Mon 6 May 2024
A new quay for river cruises will be erected at the top of the Grootdok in Ghent in autumn this year. From then onwards, such ships will be required to dock here and also to connect to onshore power.

Work started on Monday 6 May and continue until November. First, three of the four existing quays at the front end of the dock will be demolished to make way for the new quay. Construction will start with driving the foundation piles of the scaffold. This will be followed by the concrete construction of the 85-metre-long and 6-metre-wide jetty. Four mooring posts will also be provided to which the vessels can be anchored. 

The work area will be primarily in the water, at the top of the Grootdok. Daan Schalck, CEO, North Sea Port: "In order to keep disruption in the surrounding area to a minimum, most of the work and transport will be carried out on and over the water." The work will be handled by contractor Van der Straaten Aannemingsbedrijf. 

River cruise ships connected to onshore electricity 

Currently, cruise ships still dock at Rigakaai in the Grootdok. Sometimes a handful of ships are moored there. This will be a thing of the past as ships will be required to dock at the new quay at the top of the Grootdok. Also, a maximum of four river cruise ships may still be moored simultaneously in Ghent at the same time, two next to each other on either side of the quay. 

The quay will be equipped with onshore power cabinets that river cruises must connect to then for their electricity. And that is new in Ghent. That way, ships will be prevented from continuing to run their diesel engines while in port. Port alderman Sofie Bracke: "North Sea Port is well on the way to becoming one of the most sustainable ports in Europe. The new quay for river cruises is consequently also a really logical step. Among other things, this will prevent noise pollution and emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen, sulphur and CO2, among others." 

For every inland cruise ship that docks, 1.2 tonnes of CO2 is saved by connecting it to shore power. On a cruise season in Ghent, that's about 500 tonnes less CO2 emissions.