Port Zeebrugge (cruise port to Bruges) is Belgium's largest cargo and passenger port. The distance between Zeebrugge and Bruges is just 17 km (10 mi). This deep-water port is also popular with its ferry connection to the UK (Hull England). Ghent is approx 50 km (30 mi) from the port, and Antwerp and Brussels are approx 100 km (60 mi) away. Ypres is approx 85 km (53 mi) to the south (1-hour drive distance). Zeebrugge's population is ~18,000, in 2018, Bruges City welcomed 8+ million tourists.
Note: Here, CruiseMapper combines the ship schedules for both Port Zeebrugge (ocean-going vessels) and Bruges (as river cruise port).
The seaport is accessible through Vandammes Locks (length 500 m / 1640 ft, with 50 m / 164 ft, depth 18 m / (59 ft). The Baudouin Canal has total length 12 km (7,5 mi) and depth 7 m ((23 ft), with planned dredging to depth 8,4 m (27,6 ft). The canal has 2 main bridges - a railway and a car. All locks and bridges operate 24 /7.
The port authority company "Maatschappij van de Brugse Zeevaartinrichtingen" (estbl 1895) is the main shareholder. It manages all the port's nautical, technical and commercial (cargo and passenger) aspects. It is also responsible for maintaining the infrastructure - building quay walls and jetties, paving roads, security, etc. Harbour Master controls all the shipping traffic, bridges and locks, aand is responsible for its security and surveillance.
The port has a dedicated ferry terminal (serving P&O FERRIES ships) and a new cruise ship terminal (read in the "terminal" section below). It has a well-developed road and rail network, with cargoes being transported via road, rail and inland waterways navigation.
In Boudouin Canal, there is a recycling terminal (operated by Denolf Recycling) and a drydock shipyard (operated by Flanders Ship Repair / Longueville). The shipyard offers 24-hour services (mechanical repairs, welding, piping, propulsion and engines works, diving, high-pressure cleaning, painting, sandblasting). The shipyard has a drydock (Berth 413 ) with length 106 m (348 ft) and lifting capacity 4500 tons. The Dutch company Marpos (Baudouin Canal) provides vessel waste treatment services (collection and processing.
Port Zeebrugge handles primarily cargo and Ro-Ro ships (containers, trailers, car carriers, ferries), also handles conventional cargoes (perishable goods, food, fruits, wood pulp, LNG / natural gas, heavy-lift, building materials, steel, agribulk). Zeebrugge is also a major fishing port and fast-developing passenger port (ferry and cruise). It supports around 28,000 jobs. Zeebrugge is ranked Europe's largest new car export port (after Bremerhaven and Emden).
Statistics for 2010 showed that Port Zeebrugge handled a total of 8863 ocean vessels (over 49,5 million cargo tons, including 26.4 million containerized cargo tons), a total of 1423 inland vessels (nearly 0,626 million cargo tons), nearly 12,4 million tons of Ro-Ro cargo (mostly new cars), bulk cargo (nearly 8 million tons liquid bulk, 1,7 million dry bulk)conventional cargo (over 1,1 million tons) and over 0,6 million passengers (of which over 130,000 were cruise ship tourists).
Zeebrugge is a major container port serving boxships to and from Asia (Far and Middle East, China), Scandinavia, UK, Spain, as well as many Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea destinations.
- Zeebrugge International Port (Container Quays 125-129) has total quay length 600 m (1969 ft) and depth 17 m (56 ft). After completing a terminal development project, the quay length was increased to 1500 m (4921ft). The container port has annual capacity 3 million TEU-containers.
- The port's first container terminal (Container Handling Zeebrugge / Quays 202-207) is in the outer port and was last upgraded/expanded in 2008. It has annual capacity 1,1 million TEUs, total quay length 1 km ((3281 ft) and depth 16 m (53 ft).
- APM Terminal Zeebrugge can handle world's largest container ships. It has annual capacity 0,85 million TEUs, 784 reefer plugs, 1.3 km (4265 ft) docking space (all 7 berths, depth 15 m / 50 ft), all 9 gantry cranes (7 7 super-post-Panamax, and 2 rail-mounted).
- CdMC terminal serves coastal cargo shipping traffic.
- Zeebrugge Breakbulk Terminal (outer port) is operated by 2 companies (International Car Operators, Rhenus Holding Belgium) and handles break-bulk and project cargoes (general, forest products, steel, agribulk).
- The company Sea-Invest operates a cargo packing and fruit terminal (outer port). Its Flanders Cold Center handles frozen and chilled cargoes (fruit juices, vegetables, meat, fish). Sea-Invest also operates the Belgian New Fruit Wharf (inner port ) handling fruit, food, perishable, general and containerized cargoes. In the inner port there are many companies specializing in cargo storage, processing and packing.
- Zeebrugse Visveiling sells online fresh ocean fish, distributing around 19,000 tons per year to many European fish markets.
- European Food Centre (inner port) is a logistics centre for fishing and provides sorting, inspecting, and auctioning, ice; transportation and ship supply services.
- Zeebrugge Food Logistics (inner port) has a deep-freeze warehouse (cold storage facility) and a packing facility (repacking, labelling, wrapping). The warehouse has all 6 docks and also offers container handling services.
- Hanson Europe (inner port, Baudouin Canal) operates 2 building material terminals (sand and gravel, aggregates, ready-mix concrete, asphalt, bricks, cement). The French company Alzagri (Baudouin Canal) operates another sand and gravel terminal.
- Borlix (inner port) handles agricultural products (storage, toasting and extrusion of organic raw materials - soybeans, linseed, rapeseed, etc), dehulling oilseeds and derivatives.
- Seabridge / Efico (inner port) operates a modern terminal for storage and distribution of green coffee.
- Bridgestone Logistics (inner port) operates tire storage warehouses. The Japanese Bridgestone Corporation is the world's largest producer of tires. The terminal's capacity is 1,1 million tires.
- Brit European Transport (inner port) operates warehouses for floor coverings. The terminal has 8 quays.
- The companies "Seaport Shipping and Trading" and "Minne Port Services" operate 2 cargo terminals (general, project, bulk) in the Baudouin Canal. Seaport additionally provides stevedoring, bulk storage and transshipment services.
- Tomar Kolen (Baudouin Canal) operates a coal terminal with a fully-automated coal bagging plant.
- Solid BVBA (Baudouin Canal) operates a timber terminal (Nordic pine wood products for Europe's garden sector).
- Port Zeebrugge-Bruges (outer port) has an LNG terminal operated by Fluxys and supplying with gas northwestern European countries (Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Luxemburg, the UK), as well as some southern European countries. From here, gas from the UK is shipped to European destinations through the port's grid. In the inner port, Fluxys operates an LNG storage terminal with 2 storage tanks (total capacity over 114,000 m3). The facility has another tank for liquefied nitrogen (capacity over 19,000 m3).
- Gassco Norway (inner port) operates the Zeepipe Terminal serving transportation of gas from the Norwegian continental shelf.
In the outer- and inner-port areas are located Ro-Ro terminals serving roll-on/roll-off vessels. The berthing areas are Britannia Dock (4 berths), Swedish Quay (1 berth) and the new Albert II Dock (1 berth).
- DFDS Seaways (Danish shipping company, outer port) operates the Rosyth-Zeebrugge freight ferry route linking Belgium to Scotland (Rosyth-Edinburgh) with 3 weekly-scheduled crossings in both directions (24-hour ferry travel time).
- C.RO Ports Netherlands BV (outer port) operates a Ro-Ro terminal in outer port (Britannia Dock, Hermes Quay, 10 berths) dedicated to handling, storing and transporting vehicles (new cars, light vehicles, trucks, buses), trailers and containers. In inner port (Canada Quay) the company operates a Ro-Ro terminal for new cars (with 4 berths).
- ICO Terminals (International Car Operators, inner port, Northern Inlet Dock) operates a Ro-Ro terminal handling breakbulk cargoes and new cars. The terminal has all 5 berths (2 deep-sea and 3 short-sea) and capacity 28,500 cars.
- Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (inner port) operates a Ro-Ro terminal for new cars with 1 wharf, 1 storage capacity (capacity 22,000 cars), 1 warehouse, 1 heavy machinery facility (washing, painting, repairs, refits, inspections, parts warehouse, fueling station). This terminal handles both new car imports (from North America, Asia) and exports (to North America, Australia, New Zealand, Oceania).
- Toyota Corporation (inner port) operates a car terminal. Most cars to Western Europe are imported through Port Zeebrugge (around 2,000 cars daily).
CSP-Zeebrugge is a container terminal concessioned to CSP (COSCO SHIPPING Ports Ltd / renamed in 2016 from "COSCO Pacific Ltd"). This is a Chinese company (headquartered in Hong Kong) subsidiary of "China COSCO Holdings Company Ltd" (COSCO Group-owned, 2005-founded). COSCO is currently ranked world's second-largest marine shipping company - after Maersk).
- In 2019, OCEAN Alliance included CSP-Zeebrugge in 2 out of 7 Asia-Europe lines (NEU1 and NEU3), thus increasing CSP-Zeebrugge terminal's chances to become one of Europe's hinterland gateways. Ocean Alliance. This partnership between CMA CGM, COSCO SHIPPING Lines, OOCL and EVERGREEN LINE was launched in 2017. It is currently the world’s largest operational agreement between shipping companies. The 2015-founded OCEAN Alliance was formed by the companies CMA-CGM, COSCO, OOCL, and Evergreen Marine. It was launched in 2017 and is currently ranked world's largest marine shipping alliance.
- With its new "Day 3 Product", the OCEAN Alliance operates ~330 boxships in 38 services, with estimated annual TEU capacity ~3,8 million.
- On May 18, 2019, CSP-Zeebrugge terminal handled its ever-largest boxship - OOCL United Kingdom (IMO 9776200). The 21413-TEU vessel was deployed on Ocean Alliance's NEU1 loop served by 5x Cosco ships (each 18980 TEUs) plus 6 OOCL ships (each 21413 TEUs).
As of 2019, CSP-Zeebrugge is Europe's first discharge port (after Felixstowe England). Other major European ports included in the NEU1 loop are Gdansk Poland, Wilhelmshaven Germany and Piraeus Greece.
On September 19, 2019, started the construction works on the new quay wall (length 1071 m / 3514 ft) which is an extension of the existing Bastenaken Quay (International Car Operators Zeebrugge). For this port development project was contracted BESIX (1909-founded and Brussels-based construction group with activities in Europe, Middle East, Oceania, Asia, Africa, North America).
In FY2019 (fiscal year), Port Zeebrugge reported 14,2% cargo shipping growth (over 2018) with handled 45.8 million tonnes. Increased volumes were reported for RO-RO traffic (+3,7%, to 16,5 M tonnes), and especially between Belgium and Spain (+153%) linking Zeebrugge with Santander and Bilbao. The number of handled vehicles increased 4,6% (to 2,960339 million). Liquid bulk cargo increased 60,8& (to 10,8 M tonnes). Solid bulk cargo increased 7,6% (to 1,3 M tonnes). Breakbulk cargo decreased 13,5% (to 896,892 tonnes). LNG shipping increased 107,5%. Cruise ship calls were 149 (143 in 2018).
Zeebrugge cruise port
Port Bruges-Zeebrugge is the country's most important passenger port due to its maritime accessibility (easy access to open sea) and proximity to Bruges City (just 3 km / 2 mi). Zeebrugge has a great chance to become turnaround/homeport for cruise ships (operating roundtrip itineraries).
In 2016, the port handled a total of 111 cruise ship calls and 471,084 passengers. In 2017, the number grew to 146 ship calls. For season 2018, the cruise port had scheduled (booked berthing) 142 ship calls with estimated 400,000 passengers. In June 2018 was inaugurated Zeebrugge Cruise Terminal, which benefits from a new (direct) motorway connection to the riverport cities Ghent and Brussels.
Bruges (aka Brugge) is a river cruise port and travel destination city visited mainly on Scheldt River cruises to Ghent Belgium. These European river cruise deals are inclusive of the bus travel between Ghent and Bruges - one of the oldest towns in Flanders. Among excursion's highlights are the city walks visiting the Church of Our Lady (with Michelangelo's "Madonna and Child" sculpture), Beguinage courtyard (inhabited by nuns), town’s network of river canals. City's best-known landmark is the 13th-century belfry, which houses a municipal carillon (musical instrument) comprising 48 bells. Bruges still employs full-time carillonneur (musician) giving free concerts on a regular basis.
Bruges is the largest city and capital of Belgium's West Flanders province (Flemish Region). The whole city area is over 138,4 km2, including 10,75 km2 off the coast, at Zeebrugge (meaning "Bruges on Sea"). City's historic downtown (UNESCO Site) is oval and sized ~4,3 km2. City's population is around 118,000, of whom ~20,000 live in downtown. Bruges metro area has land approx 616 km2 (238 ml2) and population around 255,000.
Along with several other canal-based northern cities, like Stockholm and Amsterdam, Bruges is often referred to as "The Venice of the North". It has significant economic importance due to its port and was once the world's chief commercial city. Bruges is famous as the seat of College of Europe (elite university for European studies / aka EU's Oxbridge").
In June 2019, city authorities implemented a policy to limit tourists numbers by stopping advertising in hotels and Belgian tourism travel destinations. In 2018, Bruges was visited by ~8,3 million tourists (compared to the ~900,000 in 2017). Of those, ~6 million were day-trippers (staying in the city for 2-3 hours). During peak times, tourists outnumber city's residents 3 to 1. Since 2019, the number of cruise ships berthed/moored at the riverport is limited to 5 (simultaneously). The riverboats are encouraged to dock on weekdays rather than weekends.
For season 2019, Port Zeebrugge handled 149 ship calls and ~400,000 ocean cruise tourists (~371,000 served in 2018).
Zeebrugge cruise terminal
Since 2018, Port Zeebrugge has a dedicated passenger terminal (Zeebrugge Cruise Terminal) which was officially opened on June 15, 2018. The multi-purpose ABC-Tower building is 3-storey, with both lower floors and floor 3 (top) serving passengers and crew.
- The new terminal is just a few hundred meters from the quay, next to the boat marina. Complimentary shuttle buses transport passengers between the gangway (ship-to-shore bridge) and the cruise terminal.
- The avalable at the new terminal facilities and services include modern security (luggage screening, walk-through detectors, 4 lines for hand luggage scanning), free WiFi (throughout), ground floor (separate arrival / departure halls, info counters, check-ins, gift shop, public restrooms), 1st floor (waiting lounge for departing passengers, separate crew lounge, LED screens, large video wall for tourist attractions), publicly accessible zones, secured ISPS zones, taxi lane (capacity 19 cabs), public transport area.
Previously, cruise ships docked at the commercial / cargo port. Most occupied were Zweedse Kaai and Swedish Quay, located approx 3 km (2 ml) from downtown. Some ships berthed at Albert II dock or Leopold II dam. Both are located approx 2 km (1 ml) from bus and train stations in port's western area.
Zeebrugge port authorities offer free shuttle service to the end of the cargo port area. Bruges City is located approx 17 km (10 ml) from the cruise port. There is a direct bus service from the port's ferry terminal, where are also available taxis. With the free shuttle service from the cruise port, passengers can also use the city's public transportation service – either bus or train.
Zeebrugge ferry terminal serves P&O Ferries (car and passenger) ferry ships between Belgium and England (British Isles). All ferries have cabins, bars and restaurants allowing overnight voyages. Hull Zeebrugge ferries serve domestic routes (in Belgium), as well to France and other destinations.
(new) Terminal Zeebrugge
In August 2016, Port Zeebrugge announced its plans to build a dedicated cruise ship terminal with scheduled completion in 2018. The new facility will be a major incentive for turning the cruise port in homeport (turnaround) port for cruise ships with roundtrip itineraries from Zeebrugge. The decision was also based on the port's well developed infrastructure (hotel and transport).
The new passenger terminal building will be 6-storey, and located between the wharves Rederskaai and Zweedse kaai. Floor 1 serves passengers with separate arrival / departure areas. Floor 2 has a large waiting hall with all standard catering facilities. On non-cruise days, it can be used as event space. The above floors will house offices, meeting rooms, shops, a rooftop restaurant. In the building will be also the headquarters of the company ARTES Group International SRL.
Zeebrugge tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Belfort: the symbol of Bruges. The bell tower is extraordinary and stunning. She was a backdrop in several movies and also part of literature works.
- Burg: the square showcases amazing architectural masterpieces. So does the other famous square – Markt.
- Heilig-Bloedbasiliek: or Basilica of the Holy Blood is the next proof that Bruges deserves to be a premier World Heritage city of Unesco.
- Church of Our Lady: dates from the Middle Ages and houses the famous Michelangelo sculpture of the Madonna and Child.
- City Hall: located on the Burg square, it dates from the 14th century. It is a Gothic building.
- Sint-Salvator Cathedral: the Bruges’s cathedral dates from the 10th century and looks almost as it did when it was built.
- Jeruzalemkerk: the Jerusalem Church dates from the 15th century. It houses also a museum.
- Groeningemuseum: the art collection is the most important one in the country.
- Gotische Zaal: or the Gothic Hall. Majestic building located in the old Brugge.
- Bus tours to Ypres are also offered, via road E403 (distance approx 85 km / 50 ml) with travel time.around 1 hour.
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