Dutch Zeeland Seaports and Belgium-based Ghent Port Company signed an agreement on December 8 to combine their operations into a cross-border port to be named North Sea Port.
The merger port represents the 60-kilometre-long cross-border port area of Flushing, Borsele and Terneuzen in the Netherlands up to Ghent in Belgium.
The signing of the deal took place on a ship that symbolically sailed from Ghent across the Dutch border in the direction of Terneuzen.
The parties said that all eight shareholders of both ports approved the merger agreement during the period between September and December.
In Flanders, these were the city of Ghent and the municipalities of Evergem and Zelzate and the province of East Flanders, and in the Netherlands the province of Zeeland and the municipalities of Borsele, Terneuzen and Vlissingen.
Early 2018, the European public limited liability company will be established as holding of the two subsidiary companies Zeeland Seaports and Ghent Port Company for which, among others, a supervisory body will be installed.
The combined North Sea Port positions itself among the top of European sea ports, being number three in added value and number ten in cargo transhipment. By the year 2022, North Sea Port aims to increase its added value by 10%, its maritime traffic to 70 million tonnes from the current 62 million tonnes, and inland traffic to 60 million tonnes from 55 million tonnes handled today.