Since the Middle Ages, it has been a major crossroads for trade and commerce, and not just for seafaring. It was also here that, in 1835, was inaugurated continental Europe’s first railroad link. Since then, it has naturally become a centre for multimodal transport.
This today is a major asset for the port of Brussels. By associating the activities of the waterway and those of a TIR centre (and its vast complex of warehousing facilities) with a direct link to the Brussels high-speed road network, it is indeed a hub in every sense of the word. As such, it plays a crucial role as a centre for the supply and redistribution of goods into its hinterland and beyond.
Given their history and location, both the city of Brussels and its port are vital to the economy of Belgium. The Brussels region is highly diversified. Within its various industrial perimeters, the port is a key component, particularly as regards employment. With over 350 businesses based in or around the harbour, it generates some 12,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The port of Brussels is ideally situated in the heart of Europe. It is accessible to both river traffic and seagoing vessels of up to 4,500 tonnes, which is remarkable for an inland port. It is only 5 hours from Antwerp via a canal with only two locks. The port of Brussels is also served by direct high-speed road links to the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France and the United Kingdom. The northern European rail network – one of the most extensive anywhere in the world – also provides direct access to the outer harbour. The Brucargo air terminal, along the Antwerp highway, is just a few minutes away by road from the outer harbour and TIR centre.
A nerve centre for an ever-growing number of competitive enterprises
With its customs and excise, warehousing and distribution facilities, the port of Brussels has attracted many industries and businesses from a variety of sectors, including food and agriculture, building materials, energy, chemicals, scrap metal salvage and recycling, etc. Transport is therefore of utmost importance as the port of Brussels is also crucial for the supply of goods and services to the city of Brussels.
A major player on the European scene…
For many, Brussels is synonymous with Europe. The same is true for its port, and its key role within European transport networks. As a founder member of the EFIP (European Federation of Inland Ports), the port of Brussels is indeed set to fulfil its role in ensuring the economic development of inland ports, as well as that of combined modes of transport throughout Europe.
This European and multimodal dimension is apparent in the projects to modernize and develop the port’s infrastructures, with the provision of additional facilities, new logistic stores, warehouses and so on.
And a key European logistics centre
Naturally enough, many major companies have chosen Brussels as a centre for the distribution of their products throughout Europe. Given its strategic location, the advantages are obvious. Within the immediate vicinity of the decision-making organisations of the European Union, with efficient passenger transport systems, (TGV, a modern airport with direct access to the city centre, etc.), and given its multilingual and cosmopolitan character, it indeed has a great deal to offer. The port of Brussels fits perfectly into the scheme of things. Running right through into the heartland of the city, from north to south, it integrates a whole variety of installations, facilities and amenities, many of them situated in essentially industrial areas, providing yet another vital link to the city’s historical centre.
Facts & figures
- Distance out to sea: 120 km
- Navigation time from Antwerp: 5 hours
- 14 km of waterway into the Brussels-Capital region
- 80 hectares of navigable waters, including 3 turning docks
- 12 km of quays, including 2.8 km of harbour wharfage
- 82 hectares of usable surface area
- 160,000 m2 of warehousing at the TIR centre
Characteristics of the Port of Brussels inland waterway
Accessible to river traffic and seagoing vessels of up to 4,500 tonnes
- From the northern limit to outer harbour: 5.80 m
- From the outer harbour to the Pont des Armateurs: 4 m
- From the Béco basin to Anderlecht: 2.50 m
- From the northern limit to outer harbour: 30 m
- From the outer harbour to Anderlecht: 4.20 m
- From the northern limit to outer harbour: from 55 m to 77 m
- Outer harbour turning basin: 130 m
- From outer harbour to Place Sainctelette: from 22 m to 35 m
- Turning dock in Vergote basin : 120 m
- From Place Sainctelette toAnderlecht: from 10.5 m to 22 m
365 days a year, 24 hours around the clock!