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Port of Ghent, Zeeland Seaports merge into North Sea Port

Staff Writer | December 12, 2017
Dutch Zeeland Seaports and Belgium-based Ghent Port Company signed an agreement on December 8 to combine their operations into a cross-border port to be named North Sea Port.
North Sea Port
Shipping   The 60-kilometre-long cross-border port area
All eight shareholders of both ports agreed with the merger in recent weeks. The signing took place on a ship that symbolically sailed from Ghent across the Dutch border in the direction of Terneuzen. The name of the cross-border merger port will be North Sea Port.

This merger port represents the 60-kilometre-long cross-border port area of Flushing, Borsele and Terneuzen in the Netherlands up to Ghent in Belgium.

Immediately after the signing of the merger agreement, the name of the port was announced: North Sea Port. A new name was chosen, which expresses innovation and ambition, with a hint of bravado, since ‘North Sea Port’ goes beyond the former ‘Ghent’ and ‘Zeeland’. North Sea Port represents the North Sea region.

Early 2018, the European public limited liability company will be established as holding of the two subsidiary companies Zeeland Seaports and Ghent Port Company for which, among others, a supervisory body will be installed.

Moreover, there will be a Shareholders Committee with all elected representatives of the municipal councils, councils and state and provincial councils – the shareholders. In addition, there will be structural and bilateral meetings with the shareholders. A participation body for the staff will also be set up for the holding.

By maintaining offices at various locations and the setting up of a business consultancy body, the ‘short lines of communication’, much appreciated by the companies, are guaranteed.

The holding will be established in the former town hall of Sas van Gent, in the heart of the port area, just on the border of the Netherlands and Belgium. The future Port House in Ghent – the House of the Free Skippers at the Graslei – will function as an international sign board.

North Sea Port immediately positions itself among the top of European sea ports: it is the number three in added value and the number ten in cargo transhipment. By the year 2022, North Sea Port wants to be a leading brand in the international port world.

By then, it wants to increase its added value by 10%, its maritime traffic to 70 million tonnes (currently 62 million tonnes) and inland traffic to 60 million tonnes (currently 55 million tonnes).

The employment is expected to grow to 100,000 jobs (direct and indirect, currently rounded off to 97,000). North Sea Port has almost 1,000 hectares allocatable land.