Antwerp (Antwerpen) is the second-biggest city in Belgium. The port is located on the banks of Scheldt River. Other major cruise ports in Belgium are Zeebrugge (117 km / 73 ml from Antwerp), Ostend (123 km / 76 ml from Antwerp) and Brussels (55 km / 34 miles from Antwerp). Port of Antwerp is one of the world's top 20 biggest cargo ports, and is ranked 3rd in Europe.
Among the city's outstanding features is its system of boulevards, which replaced the walls, formerly encircling the city. The gorgeous Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame (14th-15th century), surmounted by a spire 400 ft (122 m) high, is the largest church in Belgium. It contains paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, who spent most of his lifetime in Antwerp. Other landmarks include the Gothic church of St Paul and the town hall, both completed in the 16th century. Plenty of medieval guild houses still line the marketplace. Antwerp has also botanical and zoological gardens, as well as a museum of fine arts with paintings by Flemish masters.
The city was an active intellectual and cultural centre: in 1599 the painter Anthony van Dyck was born there. Antwerp quickly declined as result of religious troubles after 1576 and under provisions of 1648 treaty known as Peace of Westphalia, which closed Schelde River to navigation. In 1795 it was reopened by the French. The development of the modern city began in 1863 when the Belgians performed their navigation rights by making cash payment to the Netherlands. During both world wars Antwerp was occupied by the Germans, until September 1944, when it became Allied supply base and was bombed heavily.
Antwerp became a port of commercial importance in the 15th and during early 16th century when diamond industry was expanded. Currently, the port is ranked Europe's 2nd largest cargo port (following only Rotterdam Holland). In 2015, Port Antwerp reported a 15.1% increase (2010-2015) in containership volumes - up to 9,37 million TEUs (containers). For 2015, Port Rotterdam handled 11,577 million TEUs.
The port is located at the upper end of Scheldt River's estuary, which is navigable by marine vessels with GT tonnage up to 100,000 tons as far as approx 80 km / 50 ml inland. Like Port Hamburg Germany, Antwerp port's inland location provides better access to Central European destinations in comparison to most cargo ports on North Sea. Port's docks are connected to the hinterland by rails, roads and inland waterways (rivers and canals).
- In 2012, the port handled a total of 14220 ocean ships carrying 190,8 million cargo tons (of which 53,6% TEU containers), 57044 freight barges carrying 123.2 million cargo tons.
- 2017 was a record year as reefer shipping volumes (refrigerated containers) as the port handled a total of 9,969 million tons of perishable cargo transported via container ships. This was 7,5% increase over 2016. The container shipping growth (in TEUs) increased by 8,5% - from 704,853 TEUs (2016) to 765,105 TEUs (2017).
- Deurganck Dock's first container terminal was inaugurated in July 2005. Deurganck Dock is located on the river's right bank and doesn't require passing through locks. The terminal's full capacity is up to 9 million TEUs annually. The dock's wharf is made of concrete and has length 5,5 km 3,4 ml.
- The new Kieldrecht Lock (at the end of Deurganck Dock) allows access to the port area docks located on the river's left bank. The lock was inaugurated in June 2016 and is currently ranked the world's largest lock - followed by Berendrecht Lock. Kieldrecht Lock building cost wasa EUR 340 million. Kieldrecht Lock leads into the Waasland canal, from where marine vessels can access all the port's other docks on the river's left bank - Doel, Verrebroek, Vrasene, as well as North and South mooring docks.
- In October 2010, the port started an EUR 1,6 billion investment plan to be implemented in the period 2010-2025 to improve all existing facilities, as well as for expansion of storage capacities and services.
- The port has little scope for further expansion. Its right bank (northern) docks reached the border with Holland. On the left bank there is a nuclear power plant. Holland also has territory on the river's south bank, so the port doesn't own Scheldt's outer estuary reaching North Sea.
- In 2016, Port Antwerp received over 600 river cruise ships calls, and 25 calls by ocean-going cruise vessels. The total number of cruise tourists was over 100,000. The visiting ocean vessels are usually small-sized luxury ships and mega-yachts. The list of shipowners (ocean ship operators) includes Oceania, Azamara, Crystal, Lindblad-National Geographic, CMV, Plantours.
- In 2017, the CMV ship Columbus (former Pacific Pearl) became the port's largest cruise ship ever.
- In April 2018, the Brussels Belgium-based energy company Fluxys took over the port's concession for LNG-bunkering service available for river barges and smaller ocean-going vessels, Fluxys' permanent LNG bunkering and storage facility (at quay 526-528) was scheduled for opening by 2019's end to complement company's existing mobile bunkering service provided by LNG tanker trucks.
Antwerp port statistics 2017
For FY 2017, Port Antwerp reported a record year with freight shipping volume of 223,607 tons (+4,4% over 2016).
- Container shipping volume increased in tonnage by 4,3% (to 123 million tons) and in TEUs by 4,1% (to 10,450897 million containers),
- Liquid bulk cargo increased by 5,7% (to 73,13 million tons). The growth was driven mainly by crude oil (+49,9% / 5,963279 million tons).
- Dry bulk volume decreased by 3,7% (down to 12,2 million tons). Fertilisers tonnage (largest drybulk category) increased by 3.7% (to 3,73 tons). The ore volume increased by 12,7%, (2,39 million tons). Coal shipping decreased by 54,2% (477,515 tons).
- Conventional breakbulk reached 10,27 million tons (+4,8%). Iron and steel imports and exports grew by 7,8% (to 8,35 million tons). Imports of raw iron and steel from India increased by 91% (to 520,209 tons), while the imports from China decreased by 44% (to 657,308 tons).
- Ro-Ro shipping traffic increased by 10,5% (to 5,05 million tons). The number of shipped cars increased by 4% (to 1,238128 million units.
- Shipping trade volume with USA grew by 9,7% (overall), with containerized imports increased by 10,4%. The port's European trade volume decreased by 3,6%.
In 2017, the port handled a total of 14,223 seagoing vessels (1,7% decrease over 2016). However, these ships' overall GT tonnage increased by 1,4%, (to 406,76 million tons).
Highlights: Old cultural centre, Gothic cathedral, Art Museums
Antwerp cruise terminal
Larger ships in Antwerp dock at the new cruise terminal Wandelteras Zuid, located near the Het Steen fortress. From here it is 5-min walking distance to the city centre.
Smaller ships dock at the piers Willemdok or Kattendijkook, which are at approx 15-min walking distance from the city centre.
Port Antwerp plans building a new cruise ship terminal, with scheduled completion in 2020. The new passenger terminal is in the city center, located at approx 2 min walking distance from downtown's main tourist attractions.
Port Antwerp cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Antwerp, Belgium. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
The Antwerp cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Antwerp, Belgium.
If you lose the Antwerp location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.