Port of Zeebrugge

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Port of Zeebrugge
Bruges and the port area of Bruges-Zeebrugge (pink)
Coordinates51°17′35″N 3°12′35″E / 51.29306°N 3.20972°E / 51.29306; 3.20972
Annual cargo tonnageover 50 million tonnes (2012)[2]
Satellite image of Bruges and the Port

The Port of Zeebrugge (also referred to as the Port of Bruges or Bruges Seaport) is a large container, bulk cargo, new vehicles and passenger ferry terminal port on the North Sea. The port is located in the municipality of Bruges, West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, handling over 50 million tonnes of cargo annually.[3]

The port of Zeebrugge is managed by the port authority MBZ (Maatschappij van de Brugse Zeehaven - translated: 'Company of the Bruges Seaport'), an autonomous company regulated by public law, the city of Bruges being the main shareholder.


Outer port of Zeebrugge
The cruise terminal of Zeebrugge

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.[4] 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),[5] receiving natural gas from the Troll gas field via the 814-kilometre (506 mi; 440 nmi) 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.

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 industrialised 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.

Ferry routes[edit]

The following ferry operators operate regular scheduled, international routes to and from Zeebrugge.

Operator Destinations Notes
Cobelfret Dublin, Esbjerg, Gothenburg, Hirtshals, Killingholme, Purfleet, Santander
DFDS Seaways Rosyth No longer operating since 2018
Finnlines Helsinki, Tilbury
P&O Ferries Middlesbrough, Teesport, Tilbury


As of July 2015:
Terminal Type Website

Outer port[edit]

Zeebrugge International Port (ZIP) paper and multi-purpose terminal [6]
Zeebrugge International Port (ZIP) deepsea container terminal [7]
Container Handling Zeebrugge (CHZ) deepsea container terminal [8]
Verbrugge Terminals Zeebrugge breakbulk terminal [9]
APM Terminals Zeebrugge deepsea container terminal [10]
P&O Ferries roro terminal [11]
DFDS Seaways roro terminal [12]
Fluxys - LNG Terminal terminal for liquefied natural gas [13]
C.RO Terminal
Brittaniadok, Hermeskaai, Minervaplein
roro terminal [14]
C.RO Terminal
Zweedse Kaai
roro terminal [14]
Euroservices NV terminal for the purging of gas-carriers [15]

Inner port Zeebrugge[edit]

ICO Terminals
Northern Inlet dock
roro terminal for new cars and breakbulk [16]
ICO Terminals
roro terminal for new cars [17]
Sea-Invest, Belgian New Fruit Wharf terminal for general cargo and fruit [18]
Sea-Invest, Flanders Cold Center - Tropicana terminal for general cargo packing installation for fruit juices [19]
Tate & Lyle Molasses terminal for molasses [20]
Vlaamse Visveiling fish auction [21]
Zeebrugge Food Logistics deepfreeze warehouse [22]
Hanson Europe sand and gravel terminal [23]
Borlix terminal for agricultural products [24]
Decloedt Dredging maintenance and storage facility [25]
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics roro terminal for new cars [26]
C.RO Terminal Canadakaai roro terminal for new cars [14]
Fluxys - peak shaving installation terminal for storage of liquefied natural gas [27]
Gassco terminal for the gas pipeline "Zeepipe" from Norway [28]
Toyota dedicated autoterminal [29]
CdMZ roro terminal for new cars [30]
Seabridge/Efico terminal for storage and distribution of green coffee [31]
Bridgestone Logistics terminal for storage of tyres [32]
Brit European Transport international transport, storage and distribution of floor coverings [33]
Progeco container depot at Jozef Verschaeveweg [34]

Transportzone Zeebrugge[edit]

Interconnector terminal for gas pipeline "Interconnector" from Bacton (UK) [35]
European Container Services ECS intermodal transport and logistics [36]
2XL intermodal transport and logistics [37]
Middlegate Europe intermodal transport and logistics [38]
Huktra intermodal transport of tank containers [39]
North Sea Express international transport [40]
Britlink international transport [41]

Inner port Bruges[edit]

Nieuwpoortse Handelsmaatschappij sand and gravel terminal [42]
Alzagri sand and gravel terminal [43]
Hanson sand and gravel terminal [23]
Seaport Shipping & Trading terminal for general cargo, project cargo and bulk cargo [44]
Minne Port Services terminal for general cargo, project cargo and bulk cargo [45]
Beveco peat terminal [46]
Denolf Recycling recycling terminal [47]
Flanders Ship Repair / Longueville ship repair [48]
Marpos waste treatment [49]
Tomar Kolen coal terminal [50]
ABN Transport exceptional transport [51]
Solid timber terminal [52]


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 [nl], 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 23 July 1907 by King Leopold II, who arrived by sea.
  • On 23 April 1918, the port was the target of 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.
  • October 1918, the capture of Zeebrugge by the Allies.
  • 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 193 passengers.
  • On 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]


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  2. ^ "Zeebrugge cargo throughput rises by 11 % | Port of Zeebrugge". Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Zeebrugge cargo throughput rises by 11% | Port of Zeebrugge". Portofzeebrugge.be. 28 December 2010. Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Invest in Flanders". Investinflanders.com. Archived from the original on 31 August 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  5. ^ "WINGAS GmbH & Co. KG: Zeebrugge". 19 July 2011. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Terminals in Zeebrugge | PSA Zeebrugge". Psa-zeebrugge.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Terminals in Zeebrugge | PSA Zeebrugge". Psa-zeebrugge.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Container Handling Zeebrugge (CHZ) | PSA Zeebrugge". Psa-zeebrugge.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Home - Verbrugge International EN". Verbruggeinternational.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Zeebrugge". Apmterminals.com. 27 February 2017. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
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  12. ^ "DFDS Seaways' Rosyth - Zeebrugge freight ferry shipping route - DFDSSeaways.com/Freight". Archived from the original on 7 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Zeebrugge LNG terminal". Fluxys.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  14. ^ a b c "C.RO - Ports - Stevedoring - Services". Croports.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  15. ^ Hoppe (10 December 2016). "Hoppe Maritime Group". Purging-euroservices.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  16. ^ "ICO | Northern Inlet Terminal". 17 July 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2009.
  17. ^ "ICO | Bastenaken Terminal". 17 July 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2009.
  18. ^ "SEA-invest | An ocean of opportunities". Sea-invest.be. Archived from the original on 15 April 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  19. ^ "SEA-invest | An ocean of opportunities". Sea-invest.be. Archived from the original on 15 April 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  20. ^ "Tate & Lyle Home". Tateandlyle.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Vlaamse Visveiling N.V". Archived from the original on 24 January 2001.
  22. ^ "Welcome". Zfl.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  23. ^ a b "Hanson UK | Hanson UK". Heidelbergcement.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  24. ^ "Borlix nv | extrusie, op-en overslag, extrusiebehandeling, stockage van plantaardige landbouwgrondstoffen". Borlix.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  25. ^ "| Baggerwerken Decloedt | DEME Group |". Decloedt.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  26. ^ "Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics - Zeebrugge Terminal". 14 January 2010. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010.
  27. ^ "Fluxys". Fluxys. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  28. ^ "Gassco | Belgium and France". 4 May 2009. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009.
  29. ^ "Toyota - Altijd beter, altijd verder". Nl.toyota.be. Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  30. ^ "Cobelfret - RoRo - Transport - Trailers - Containers - Shipping Lines - UK - Scandinavia - Europe". 15 September 2009. Archived from the original on 15 September 2009.
  31. ^ "Seabridge Homepage | Seabridge". Seabridge.eu. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  32. ^ "Bridgestone Global Website". Bridgestone.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  33. ^ bet.be (5 September 2016). "For Sale | Undeveloped". Bet.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  34. ^ "Progeco". 23 November 2006. Archived from the original on 23 November 2006.
  35. ^ "Interconnector". Archived from the original on 25 February 2004.
  36. ^ "ECS European Containers - Creating Reliable logistics - International 45ft container transport". www.ecs.be. Archived from the original on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  37. ^ "Home - 2XL". 2xl.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  38. ^ "Transport and groupage, warehousing Middlegate Europe N.V." www.middlegate.be. Archived from the original on 15 July 2001. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  39. ^ "Huktra NV". Huktra.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  40. ^ "NSE | North Sea Express". Nse-transport.be (in Dutch). Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  41. ^ "Britlink |". www.britlink.be. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  42. ^ "NHM: Producer and supplier of sand, gravel, limestone, dolomite, parkgold, sandstone, porphyry". www.nhm.be. Archived from the original on 13 September 2003. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  43. ^ "Alzagri nv - Algemene zand en grindhandelmaatschappij nv". Alzagri.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  44. ^ "Transhipment in the harbour of Bruges: Seaport Shipping home". Seaportshipping.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  45. ^ "Minne Port Services N.V." www.minne.be. Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  46. ^ "Beveco". Beveco.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  47. ^ "Denolf Recycling". Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  48. ^ "Flanders Ship Repair Zeebrugge, scheepsherstelling, industrieel onderhoud, lassen, machinewerk, technische leveringen". Fsr.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  49. ^ "Home - Marpos NV Dudzele – Uw specialist in de verwerking van maritiem afval - Marpos - Zeebrugge (Brugge)". Marpos.info. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  50. ^ "Kolen Tomar bvba". www.kolentomar.com. Archived from the original on 16 October 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  51. ^ "ABN Transport :: Welcome!". Abntransport.be. Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  52. ^ "Home - Solid NV". 24 October 2007. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007.


  • 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. Brussels, A. Lesigne, 1898, 43 pp. Online at Flandrica.be
  • 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.,

External links[edit]