There will be a modal shift from ferry to container transport by shortsea shipping, says Port of Antwerp
It added that “as soon as the UK leaves the European Union, in whichever form, there will be radical changes in the transport of goods between the two regions”.
It released a statement on the day the newly appointed British ambassador Martin Shearman visited the Port of Antwerp, saying “Goods entering or leaving the EU by ferry ports will face more checks and red tape once Brexit comes along. Brexit means more inspections of people, goods and documents, resulting in higher costs, congestion and longer transit times for ferry transport.”
Port of Antwerp anticipates that accompanied trucks will increasingly be replaced by shortsea container transport, which by definition refers to unaccompanied goods loaded on board by crane for non-oceanic crossings. The port said it is therefore gearing up to further expand shortsea links with the UK.
“Today’s visit should therefore make it clear to Ambassador Shearman that after Brexit, Antwerp will more than ever be the main gateway for trade between Europe and the UK,” said Port of Antwerp’s statement.
“Good friends and trading partners continue to talk to each other even in difficult and uncertain times,” said Port of Antwerp chief executive Jacques Vandermeiren during his meeting with the ambassador.
The UK was the second-largest trading partner for Port of Antwerp in 2018, with nearly 17M tonnes of freight.
Shortly after the British Brexit referendum in 2016, Port of Antwerp’s taskforce of ‘Brexperts’ has worked closely with different stakeholders, including Belgian Customs, the Belgian Food Safety Agency and major port community and business representatives to mitigate any negative consequences for the port.
"Brexit creates not only challenges but also opportunities for trade between the UK and Ireland on the one hand and the European continent on the other. Having more shortsea solutions in the logistics chain will not only mean greater reliability, it will also diminish our dependence on trucks for ’last mile’ transport, as well as reducing costs and CO2 emissions,” said Port of Antwerp representative in the UK and Ireland Justin Atkin.