Port of Zeebrugge

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Bruges and the port area of Bruges-Zeebrugge (pink)
Satellite image of Bruges and the Port

The Port of Zeebrugge (also known as the Port of Bruges-Zeebrugge) is a large container, bulk cargo, new vehicles and passenger ferry terminal port in the municipality of Bruges, Flanders, Belgium, handling over 50 million tonnes of cargo annually.[1]


Zeebrugge is a multifaceted port that handles a wide range of trades: unit loads (trailers and containers), new cars, conventional general cargo, 'high & heavy' cargoes, dry and liquid bulk cargoes and natural gas. From a purely transit port Zeebrugge has gradually evolved into a centre for European distribution.

The port has become a major European port since major development works were carried in the 1972 to 1985 period. Since then total tonnage has doubled. As of 2008, Bruges-Zeebrugge is one of the fastest growing ports between Le Havre and Hamburg.[2] It is Europe's leading RoRo port, handling 12.5 million mt in 2010, and the world's largest port for imports and exports of new vehicles, with over 1.6 million units handled in 2010 (24.5% less than in 2008 due to the economical crises). It is also Europe's largest terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG),[3] receiving natural gas from the Troll gas field via the 814 km long Zeepipe under the North Sea. LNG is also delivered in specialized gas tankers from various origins, like Africa, Australia or the Middle East. Zeebrugge counts as one of the most important ports in Europe for containerized cargo as well, handling over 2.5 million TEUs in 2010.

The port employs directly over 11,000 people and handles over 10,000 ship moorings annually. Together with the indirect employees, the port creates over 28,000 jobs.

The most important functions of the port are:

  • Intense RoRo traffic between the Continent, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Southern Europe;
  • European hub port for the automotive industry;
  • Container port with a good nautical accessibility for + 19,000 TEU ships;
  • Import of Liquefied Natural Gas and energy products;
  • Handling, storage and distribution of perishables and other agricultural products;
  • Handling of conventional general cargo and 'high & heavy' cargoes;
  • Passenger transport;
  • Organisation of the European distribution via an intricate network of hinterland connections.

The port of Bruges-Zeebrugge is managed by the Maatschappij van de Brugse Zeevaartinrichtingen N.V. (abbreviated: MBZ).

Advantages of the port[edit]

The port complex of Bruges-Zeebrugge offers several main assets, which will allow volumes to develop even further in the years to come, namely,

  • The favourable geographical position:
    • On the coast of the North Sea, the busiest sea in the world;
    • Central in relation to other North Sea ports;
    • Within a short distance of Great Britain;
    • Close to many major, densely populated and industrialized cities;
  • Good nautical accessibility with a deep water draught in the approaches and at the berths;
  • Good road and rail connections to all countries of Continental Europe;
  • Several daily liner services to Great Britain and to other ports in northern and southern Europe, Zeebrugge being the cross-roads for traffic in all directions;
  • A network of intercontinental and intra-European container services;
  • Modern port equipment, recently established, which meets all the expectations of modern shipping and handling techniques;
  • A large potential of skilled labour achieving high productivity.


As of July 2015:
Terminal Type Website

Outer port[edit]

Zeebrugge International Port (ZIP) paper and multi-purpose terminal www.psa-zeebrugge.be
Zeebrugge International Port (ZIP) deepsea container terminal www.psa-zeebrugge.be
Container Handling Zeebrugge (CHZ) deepsea container terminal www.psa-zeebrugge.be
Verbrugge Terminals Zeebrugge breakbulk terminal www.verbruggeinternational.com
APM Terminals Zeebrugge deepsea container terminal www.apmterminals.com
P&O Ferries roro terminal www.POferries.com
DFDS Seaways roro terminal www.freight.dfdsseaways.com
Fluxys - LNG Terminal terminal for liquefied natural gas www.fluxys.com
C.RO Terminal
Brittaniadok, Hermeskaai, Minervaplein
roro terminal www.croports.com
C.RO Terminal
Zweedse Kaai
roro terminal www.croports.com
Euroservices NV terminal for the purging of gas-carriers www.purging-euroservices.be

Inner port Zeebrugge[edit]

ICO Terminals
Northern Inlet dock
roro terminal for new cars and breakbulk www.icoterminals.com
ICO Terminals
roro terminal for new cars www.icoterminals.com
Sea-Invest, Belgian New Fruit Wharf terminal for general cargo and fruit www.sea-invest.be
Sea-Invest, Flanders Cold Center - Tropicana terminal for general cargo packing installation for fruit juices www.sea-invest.be
Tate & Lyle Molasses terminal for molasses www.tateandlyle.com
Vlaamse Visveiling fish auction www.zv.be
Zeebrugge Food Logistics deepfreeze warehouse www.zfl.be
Hanson Europe sand and gravel terminal www.heidelbergcement.com
Borlix terminal for agricultural products www.borlix.be
Decloedt Dredging maintenance and storage facility www.decloedt.be
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics roro terminal for new cars www.2wglobal.com
C.RO Terminal Canadakaai roro terminal for new cars www.croports.com
Fluxys - peak shaving installation terminal for storage of liquefied natural gas www.fluxys.com
Gassco terminal for the gas pipeline "Zeepipe" from Norway www.gassco.no
Toyota dedicated autoterminal www.toyota.be
CdMZ roro terminal for new cars www.cobelfret.com
Seabridge/Efico terminal for storage and distribution of green coffee www.seabridge.eu
Bridgestone Logistics terminal for storage of tyres www.bridgestone.be
Brit European Transport international transport, storage and distribution of floor coverings www.bet.be
Progeco container depot at Jozef Verschaeveweg www.progeco.fr

Transportzone Zeebrugge[edit]

Interconnector terminal for gas pipeline "Interconnector" from Bacton (UK) www.interconnector.com
European Container Services ECS intermodal transport and logistics www.ecs.be
2XL intermodal transport and logistics www.2xl.be
Middlegate Europe intermodal transport and logistics www.middlegate.be
Huktra intermodal transport of tank containers www.huktra.com
North Sea Express international transport www.nse-transport.be
Britlink international transport www.britlink.be

Inner port Bruges[edit]

Nieuwpoortse Handelsmaatschappij sand and gravel terminal www.nhm.be
Alzagri sand and gravel terminal www.alzagri.be
Hanson sand and gravel terminal www.heidelbergcement.com
Seaport Shipping & Trading terminal for general cargo, project cargo and bulk cargo www.seaportshipping.be
Minne Port Services terminal for general cargo, project cargo and bulk cargo www.minne.be
Beveco peat terminal www.beveco.be
Denolf Recycling recycling terminal www.denolf-recycling.be
Flanders Ship Repair / Longueville ship repair www.fsr.be
Marpos waste treatment www.marpos.info
Tomar Kolen coal terminal www.kolentomar.com
ABN Transport exceptional transport www.abntransport.be
Solid timber terminal www.solidnv.com


View on the eastern dam of the Port of Zeebrugge, Brugge, seen from the beach of Heist, Knokke-Heist.

Historical events[edit]

  • 1866 Mr August de Maere d'Aertrijcke, a Ghent Alderman describes the project of connecting his town with the sea in a public conference. He is known as the father of the Zeebrugge port.
  • 1894 Belgian parliament votes the law approving the construction of Port of Heyst
  • The port was inaugurated on July 23, 1907 by King Leopold II, arriving by sea.
  • On 23 April 1918, the port was the target of a famous raid, the Zeebrugge Raid, by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. This was an attempt to block access to and from the port by intentionally sinking ships to block the canal entrance, thus preventing its use by German ships and submarines. Eight participants in the raid were awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • On 6 March 1987, the ferry Herald of Free Enterprise (owned by Townsend-Thoresen) was just outside the port when it took on water due to the bow doors remaining open, became unstable and capsized, killing 189 passengers.
  • On the 16 August 2014, 35 people of an Afghan origin, were found in a container at Tilbury Docks that had originated from The Bruges-Zeebruge port. All were suspected to be dehydrated and 1 man died from his injuries.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


  • A. de Maere-Limnander, (1866). Des communications directes du port de Gand à la mer. Canal de Terneuzen - Canal de Heyst: conférence donnée au Cercle Commercial et Industriel de Gand. Imprimerie et Lithographie C. Annoot-Braeckman: Gand, Belgium. 52, plates I-II pp.,
  • A. de Maere-Limnander, (1877). D'une communication directe de Bruges à la mer. Imprimerie Houdmont, Frères: Bruges, Belgium. 57, plates I-IV pp
  • J. Nyssens-Hart, Le Port de vitesse de Heyst. (Actuellement port de Zeebrugge) avec cartes (circa 1895).
  • J. Nyssens-Hart et J. Zone, Le port de vitesse de Heyst. 120 pp. avec planches couleurs. (circa 1895)
  • J. Nyssens-Hart The outer port and the inner port of Bruges. Cie des Installations maritimes de Bruges, 1898, 43 pp.
  • U. Naert, (1977). Baron August de Maere d'Aertrycke: vader van Brugge-Zeehaven. chez l'Auteur à Eernegem, Belgique. 148 pp
  • E. Bilé; E. Trips, (1970). Zeebrugge: een haven in de branding 1895-1970. Brugsch Handelsblad: Belgium. 244 pp.,
  • Anon. (1995). Tentoonstelling 100 jaar Zeehaven Brugge 8 juli-20 September 1995. Zeehaven Brugge: Brugge, Belgium. 184 pp.,

Coordinates: 51°17′35″N 3°12′35″E / 51.29306°N 3.20972°E / 51.29306; 3.20972