Port Days 2023 at North Sea Port: experience the port from the inside on Saturday 6 May in Vlissingen and Terneuzen and on Sunday 7 May in Ghent
North Sea Port is the cross-border port made up of Vlissingen, Terneuzen and Ghent. Five years ago, it became a single merged Dutch-Flemish port. North Sea Port is the tenth largest port in Europe. The port area extends for 60 km, numbers 550 companies and provides 102,000 direct and indirect jobs.
There are four different locations you can visit during the Port Days at North Sea Port: Vlissingen and Terneuzen on Saturday 6 May and Rigakaai and Kluizendok in Ghent on Sunday 7 May. 'Port Day Villages' will be set up there with activities on the quayside and beside the dock. The Port Days are a unique opportunity to see places that are normally out of bounds, and to see how innovatively and sustainably the many participating companies work. Sign up for the company visits and boat tours or just drop by one of the Port Day Villages. Below is a sample from the extensive programme.
In the Port Day Village at Damen Shiprepair in Vlissingen, you can view the Borssele nuclear power plant through VR glasses. Operate a crane and climb a pilot ladder as if you were boarding a ship yourself. Find out what customs and the border police do in the port, and enjoy watching the Zeeland Forklift Cup (or take part!). Go on company visits to learn all about radioactive waste, the 'jacket' (base) of an offshore wind turbine, a fully automated container terminal and the storage and handling of dry bulk goods. Take the Westerschelde Ferry and have your picture taken with a giant harbour crane.
In the Port Day Village at the Portaal van Vlaanderen in Terneuzen, you can look around an inland barge, ride a train across the New Lock which is currently under construction and watch diving demonstrations or a rope-splicing demonstration. Using a crane simulator, you can observe the storage and transhipment of containers on an ocean-going vessel. Go on a company visit to see how packaging for the food industry is made and stored in an automated high-rise warehouse. Book a bus tour to the Terneuzen Industrial Park, where companies make components for consumer goods. Discover how household chemical waste is processed and how recycled steel is used for very expensive cars. Learn about the storage and handling of dry bulk goods or have your picture taken with a giant harbour crane. Or book your cruise on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal and glide past the construction site of the New Lock, one of the biggest in the world.
At Rigakaai in Ghent, you can join a cruise to Mercatordok and sail on a sailing boat in Grootdok. Look around a ship, or join the crew for a virtual voyage. Learn about the importance of rail in moving goods to and from the port. Explore the training options available to prepare you for a job on the water, or learn about some of the professions in the port. Watch demonstrations by the maritime police and fire service. Find out how deep the water is on a sounding boat. You can also take a ride on an electric truck and marvel at the equipment used to unload and load bulk ships. Learn about the digitalisation of the maritime world and get to know the world of ships' engines. Take a seat in a crane or watch customs inspecting goods with a team of dogs. Or find out about numerous innovations in the port and maritime sector, such as autonomous ships and trains, drones and robots. Watch a seagoing ship from Gothenburg arrive at a terminal to unload goods, and see the latest Volvo electric cars.
At Kluizendok in Ghent, you can also enjoy a canal cruise. Discover the hazards of a truck's blind spot for yourself. Take a seat in a telescopic crane or a truck. Step on board a tugboat and learn about the world of wind turbines. Hitch a ride on a train or take in the hustle and bustle at the multimodal terminal, with trains coming and going and ocean-going vessels and barges loading and unloading goods. Learn all about chemical products based on renewable resources.
In Ghent, the Port Day is part of the Flemish Port Day, when the other Flemish ports of Antwerp-Bruges and Oostende are also open to the public.
Your day starts in a Port Village: book your company visits and tours in advance
If you would like to visit the Port Days in Vlissingen, Terneuzen or Ghent, come to the Port Village first, there's lots to do there. It's best if you come on foot or by bike. Parking is available only in the designated car parks.
From the Port Village, your visit to one of the many companies in the port begins. Many of them do require you to register in advance. You can only enter the company premises with a reservation, which also bags you a seat on the shuttle bus taking you from the Port Village to that company location and back again. If you want to visit businesses in Ghent that do not require you to register, take the hop-on-hop-off bus that passes various company locations. You also need to register in advance for all the tours.
You can find a list of all the activities on and around the water and at the various company locations at www.northseaport.com/havendagen. The website also includes information on accessibility for the disabled and for children.