Both ports have long been involved in talks about greater cooperation. These talks have resulted in the go-ahead being given for further talks about a possible merger.
In Friday morning’s press statement the two ports talk of the start of talks “with a view to the phased run up towards a possible merger of the two ports”
It is expected that the entire process will take around two years.
"The ambition of both port authorities is to form a main port from A to Z that is future proof” the Chairman of the Port of Zeebrugge Authority Dirk De fauw told journalists.
The Antwerp Alderman responsible for the port Annick De Ridder (Flemish nationalist) said "Together Antwerp and Zeebrugge can become the port of the future more quickly and more effectively by focusing on new areas such as energy transition, innovation and digitalisation.