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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Port of Antwerp prepares for 70m Deurganck lock gates

The Port of Antwerp is preparing to receive four giant gates for its planned Deurganck lock as part of the final stages of construction work designed to deepen access to the port for the next generation of super vessels.

The Belgian port announced that work on the gates is now complete at the fabrication plant in Changxing where they have been constructed by Chinese firm ZPMC. They are expected to start transit to the site in early April.

“The lock gates have the same length and thickness as those of the Berendrecht lock. However, the Deurganck dock lock will be 4 m deeper to handle the larger ships that are now coming into operation,” a spokesperson for the port authoritiy commented.

Each gate is 70 metres long, 27 metres high and 11 metres wide and weigh in at a colossal 2,000 tonnes each.

The construction of the lock gates in China by ZPMC is indicative of growing links between the port and Asia. Last month, delegates from the port visited India to raise investor interest strengthen trade ties.

“The port of Antwerp has long been convinced of the economic growth potential of India,” a spokesman for the port authority commented, adding that Antwerp’s location in the heart of Europe gave “an essential advantage” for exporting countries that target the European consumer.

The Port of Antwerp in Belgium handled a record 199 million tonnes of freight in 2014, according to the latest figures published by the port authority. This represented a 4.3% year on year (y-o-y) rise on the previous year and is the highest annual amount ever recorded at the port.

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