Brexit triggers unrest at Port Zeebrugge

The rejection of the EU Withdrawal Deal by the UK parliament has triggered great concern among West Flemish businesses and in the Port of Zeebrugge.  West Flanders is located closest to the UK and its main port, Zeebrugge, and its economy are highly dependent on the UK.

Zeebrugge CEO Joachim Coens says a major share of UK bound traffic passes through the port:  "As a result of the vote it's 'all hands on deck'".

The UK parliament on Tuesday rejected the deal agreed between the EU and the UK government on Britain's departure from the bloc.  The agreement was supposed to organise an orderly departure.  It's not clear how the departure will now proceed.

The UK leaves the EU on 29 March.  If there's no accord, we're looking at a hard Brexit with strict customs checks at Zeebrugge.

CEO Joachim Coens: "It's completely unclear what will happen.  The chance of a No Deal Brexit has increased.  The best we can hope for is for more time to be taken.  We need a transition period in which efforts are made to strike a deal."