New Extended Gate Concept at APM Terminals Zeebrugge (Belgium)

APM Terminals Zeebrugge recorded average gross crane-productivity of 40 mph in 2012 on mainliners. “Superior productivity is just one of the ways in which APM Terminals Zeebrugge delivers better operations to customers” stated Ben Vree, CEO of APM Terminals Europe Region, adding “Consistently providing shorter port stays improves vessel schedule reliability, saves bunker costs and reduces CO2 emissions all of which ultimately benefits shippers, cargo-owners and the local community.”

APM Terminals Zeebrugge has also launched a new, extended gate concept. The new service will improve efficiency for shipping lines by providing a direct connection from Zeebrugge’s natural deepwater coastal port to Antwerp’s inland river port facilities.

Deepsea vessels who discharge in Zeebrugge instead of Antwerp save 12 hours sailing time. Under the extended gate program, an innovative new offering in the market, barges and trains will discharge containers at a dedicated terminal on the right bank in Antwerp at the Tri-modal terminal in Antwerp, ATO by dedicated barge & rail transportation synchronized with mother vessel port calls. The key benefit is cargo owners get the flexibility to choose between ports and hinterland access from both ports.

Although barge and rail transportation between Zeebrugge and Antwerp has been previously available, this new synchronized dedicated service will be fully managed and operated under the APM Terminals service umbrella without any planning required from the shipping line. The end-to-end process management by APM Terminals taps economies of scale, synchronizes with mother vessel calls, delivers significant cost savings and environmental advantages. Shipping lines can slow-steam without the traditional disadvantages for cargo owners, which will reduce emissions by an estimated 150,000 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) per call.

This is a game-changer. For our customers, there will be no difference anymore between calling at APM Terminals Zeebrugge or Antwerp, thus making unnecessary an expensive direct call further up the Scheldt River. We offer similar transit times and even better reliability as our dedicated barge and rail service is not affected by the river’s tidal windows; in fact, we have made it even easier for carriers now by giving them access to two ports– Antwerp and Zeebrugge – in one call” said APM Terminals Zeebrugge Managing Director, Mark Geilenkirchen.

Maersk Line was the first customer to start using the new service when the extended gate from APM Terminals Zeebrugge went live. All containers destined to Antwerp were discharged from the mother vessel in Zeebrugge and transferred by either barge or rail to Antwerp. Robert Walter, Operations Manager in Maersk Line Antwerp, commented “We were very pleased with how the extended gate was handled, a higher move count was realized by centralization and end-to-end process management. The extended gate is the future.”

APM Terminals Zeebrugge has developed a dedicated website,, where shipping lines can identify the cost savings of Zeebrugge.

On a partnership note, in an effort to expand the Asian target market coverage and relationships, APM Terminals Zeebrugge recently signed an MOU with China Shipping Terminals for a 24% share. The transaction is expected to close in June 2013.

Currently, APM Terminals Zeebrugge consists of a 75% majority share by APM Terminals and 25% with the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), acquired in 2010.

Antwerp and Zeebrugge handled a combined total throughput of 10.9 million TEUs in 2012. The Port of Zeebrugge is the 5th–busiest in the North Europe port range, with traffic of 2.2 million for the year. APM Terminals Zeebrugge’s throughput in 2012 was 576,000 TEUs.

APM Terminals, April 25, 2013

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