Belgium’s Port of Antwerp has opened a new service quay for barge operators in Kallo, situated on the left bank of the Scheldt River.

The new facility represents the third barge service quay at the Port of Antwerp and features a waste collection park, drinking water point and long-term car park.

The quay also includes a sustainable building equipped with ground heat exchangers, a grass roof and other features.

Construction of the €2.4m facility began in October last year and was completed in July.

"At present, 38% of containers are carried by barge, but this percentage will have to increase in the next few years."

Port of Antwerp alderman Marc Van Peel said: “Investing in services for barges means investing in a sustainable future for our port.

“At present, 38% of containers are carried by barge, but this percentage will have to increase in the next few years.

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“Investing in the necessary infrastructure for barge transport is an important part of this ambition.”

The new facility on quay 1550 has replaced the old service park at 1103, thereby enabling the port authority to provide additional holding berths for ‘blue cone’ barges carrying dangerous goods.

In addition, the new quay will allow the site to handle the increasing volume of barge freight visiting the port.

Port of Antwerp has also refurbished the Groenendijk holding berths and created additional holding berths at Reigersbos, Noordlandbrug and Ketelplaat.

A total of €900,000 has been spent on the full renovation of the existing holding berths and the creation of three new gangways at Groenendijk.

Work is currently slated to begin at Reigersbos by the second quarter of next year, which will see the addition 18 berths for barges via an investment of €1.9m.