Possible 3.7 billion investment in port of Antwerp

A Saudi company is planning an investment worth 3.7 billion euros in the Delwaide Dock in the port of Antwerp. The investment should yield 900 new jobs.

The Delwaide Dock is situated on the east bank of the River Scheldt (Rechteroever) and it's a top location. It's the Swiss shipping company MSC that uses the site at present, but MSC will move to the bigger Deurganck Dock on Linkeroever (west bank) next year.

The port authorities next started a quest for a new investor. Market research led them to the Saudi family company Energy Recovery Systems. Marc Van Peel, the Antwerp alderman for the Port, told the VRT that two things were crucial in the port's decision: "Employment and the fact that it's a new technology, at least for our port."

"This benefits the local chemical industry"

Plastic from industrial waste material will be transformed into basic products that can be used by the local chemical sector, such as ammonia and urea, through gasification.

Energy Recovery Systems CEO Albert Van Rielaer explains that the technical infrastructure is already there. "The pipelines are there. You have the local chemical industry that needs ammonia. Antwerp now sees a net import of 800,000 tons per annum. We can meet that demand to a certain extent."

"Job creation and sustainability"

The Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) has looked into the production process in detail and says it puts a smaller burden on the environment than the classic process.

The environment-friendly element and the job creation were two crucial elements in Antwerp's choice. And there's more, says Eddy Bruyninckx of the Port of Antwerp: "The investment is huge, which is why we think it's a sustainable project. Second, 900 jobs is quite a lot. And third, the support of the petrochemical cluster could be an extra element that makes it a very nice story."

The works should start in two years' time and the plant should be operational by 2020.