Port of Zeebrugge

The Port of Zeebrugge (also referred to as the Port of Bruges-Zeebrugge or Bruges Seaport) 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]

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. .


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.

Advantages of the port

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

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

CobelfretDublin, Esbjerg, Gothenburg, Hirtshals, Killingholme, Purfleet, Santander
DFDS SeawaysRosyth
FinnlinesHelsinki, Tilbury
P&O FerriesHull, Middlesbrough, Teesport, Tilbury


As of July 2015:

Outer port

Zeebrugge International Port (ZIP)paper and multi-purpose terminal[4]
Zeebrugge International Port (ZIP)deepsea container terminal[5]
Container Handling Zeebrugge (CHZ)deepsea container terminal[6]
Verbrugge Terminals Zeebruggebreakbulk terminal[7]
APM Terminals Zeebruggedeepsea container terminal[8]
P&O Ferriesroro terminal[9]
DFDS Seawaysroro terminal[10]
Fluxys - LNG Terminalterminal for liquefied natural gas[11]
C.RO Terminal
Brittaniadok, Hermeskaai, Minervaplein
roro terminal[12]
C.RO Terminal
Zweedse Kaai
roro terminal[12]
Euroservices NVterminal for the purging of gas-carriers[13]

Inner port Zeebrugge

ICO Terminals
Northern Inlet dock
roro terminal for new cars and breakbulk[14]
ICO Terminals
roro terminal for new cars[15]
Sea-Invest, Belgian New Fruit Wharfterminal for general cargo and fruit[16]
Sea-Invest, Flanders Cold Center - Tropicanaterminal for general cargo packing installation for fruit juices[17]
Tate & Lyle Molassesterminal for molasses[18]
Vlaamse Visveilingfish auction[19]
Zeebrugge Food Logisticsdeepfreeze warehouse[20]
Hanson Europesand and gravel terminal[21]
Borlixterminal for agricultural products[22]
Decloedt Dredgingmaintenance and storage facility[23]
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logisticsroro terminal for new cars[24]
C.RO Terminal Canadakaairoro terminal for new cars[12]
Fluxys - peak shaving installationterminal for storage of liquefied natural gas[25]
Gasscoterminal for the gas pipeline "Zeepipe" from Norway[26]
Toyotadedicated autoterminal[27]
CdMZroro terminal for new cars[28]
Seabridge/Eficoterminal for storage and distribution of green coffee[29]
Bridgestone Logisticsterminal for storage of tyres[30]
Brit European Transportinternational transport, storage and distribution of floor coverings[31]
Progecocontainer depot at Jozef Verschaeveweg[32]

Transportzone Zeebrugge

Interconnectorterminal for gas pipeline "Interconnector" from Bacton (UK)[33]
European Container Services ECSintermodal transport and logistics[34]
2XLintermodal transport and logistics[35]
Middlegate Europeintermodal transport and logistics[36]
Huktraintermodal transport of tank containers[37]
North Sea Expressinternational transport[38]
Britlinkinternational transport[39]

Inner port Bruges

Nieuwpoortse Handelsmaatschappijsand and gravel terminal[40]
Alzagrisand and gravel terminal[41]
Hansonsand and gravel terminal[21]
Seaport Shipping & Tradingterminal for general cargo, project cargo and bulk cargo[42]
Minne Port Servicesterminal for general cargo, project cargo and bulk cargo[43]
Bevecopeat terminal[44]
Denolf Recyclingrecycling terminal[45]
Flanders Ship Repair / Longuevilleship repair[46]
Marposwaste treatment[47]
Tomar Kolencoal terminal[48]
ABN Transportexceptional transport[49]
Solidtimber terminal[50]
View on the eastern dam of the Port of Zeebrugge, Brugge, seen from the beach of Heist, Knokke-Heist.

Historical events

  • 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 23 July 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.
  • 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 189 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


  1. "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.
  2. "Invest In Flanders". Investinflanders.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  3. "Terminals in Zeebrugge | PSA Zeebrugge". Psa-zeebrugge.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  4. "Terminals in Zeebrugge | PSA Zeebrugge". Psa-zeebrugge.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  5. "Container Handling Zeebrugge (CHZ) | PSA Zeebrugge". Psa-zeebrugge.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  6. "Home - Verbrugge International EN". Verbruggeinternational.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  7. "Zeebrugge". Apmterminals.com. 27 February 2017. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  8. "Hull To Rotterdam | Daily Crossings | P&O Ferries - UK". Poferries.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  9. "Zeebrugge LNG terminal". Fluxys.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  10. "C.RO - Ports - Stevedoring - Services". Croports.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  11. Hoppe (10 December 2016). "Hoppe Maritime Group". Purging-euroservices.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  12. "SEA-invest | An ocean of opportunities". Sea-invest.be. Archived from the original on 15 April 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  13. "SEA-invest | An ocean of opportunities". Sea-invest.be. Archived from the original on 15 April 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  14. "Tate & Lyle Home". Tateandlyle.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  15. "Welcome". Zfl.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  16. "Hanson UK | Hanson UK". Heidelbergcement.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  17. "Borlix nv | extrusie, op-en overslag, extrusiebehandeling, stockage van plantaardige landbouwgrondstoffen". Borlix.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  18. "| Baggerwerken Decloedt | DEME Group |". Decloedt.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  19. "Fluxys". Fluxys. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  20. "Toyota - Altijd beter, altijd verder". Nl.toyota.be. Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  21. "Seabridge Homepage | Seabridge". Seabridge.eu. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  22. "Bridgestone Global Website". Bridgestone.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  23. bet.be (5 September 2016). "For Sale | Undeveloped". Bet.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  24. "Home - 2XL". 2xl.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  25. "Huktra NV". Huktra.com. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  26. "NSE | North Sea Express". Nse-transport.be (in Dutch). Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  27. "Alzagri nv - Algemene zand en grindhandelmaatschappij nv". Alzagri.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  28. "Transhipment in the harbour of Bruges: Seaport Shipping home". Seaportshipping.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  29. "Beveco". Beveco.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  30. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. "Flanders Ship Repair Zeebrugge, scheepsherstelling, industrieel onderhoud, lassen, machinewerk, technische leveringen". Fsr.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  32. "Home - Marpos NV Dudzele – Uw specialist in de verwerking van maritiem afval - Marpos - Zeebrugge (Brugge)". Marpos.info. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  33. "ABN Transport :: Welcome!". Abntransport.be. Retrieved 6 March 2017.


  • 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.,

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