Antwerp port expansion faces increasing financial challenges

Sources in the Flemish government say expansion of the port of Antwerp will cost 5 billion euros instead of the previous predictions of 3.1 billion and 1.8 billion, De Tijd reports on Thursday.

The expansion plan, called Extra Container Capacity Antwerp (ECA) is intended to increase the port's capacity from 15 million to 22 million containers a year. It consists of three major infrastructure projects, the focal point being the new tidal dock, the Saeftinghedok. The plan is to begin work on the expansion in 2029, but the sharp rise in costs must be reconsidered before the start of the project.

Unforeseen costs

Financing for the project is now under scrutiny following negative advice from the Finance Inspectorate. The financial watchdog raised concerns that the current estimate is too narrow, failing to account for cost inflation and uncertainties related to issues such as nitrogen problems and PFAS pollution. The forecast was based on the price level of January 2022, and last year's cost inflation was not factored into the projection, leading to a considerable underestimation.

Additionally, the inspectorate criticised the allocation of financial responsibilities, saying that the port authority's share is smaller than legally prescribed. Flanders was originally expected to contribute 1.9 billion euros of the 3.1 billion estimated cost. The inspectorate called for renegotiations to ensure a fair distribution of financial burdens between the government and the port authority.

The challenges extend beyond financial considerations: the inspectorate highlighted the absence of a legal framework for social mitigation measures, including measures to limit the project's impact on the quality of life, such as noise buffers and the development of the Polder area.

Government budget

The additional costs will place a burden of approximately 60 billion euros on the Flemish budget. "In any case, the implementation of this project will have a major impact on the investment opportunities of the next Flemish government for other projects," it said.

The repercussions of the cost escalation are not limited to the port expansion. Similar issues have arisen in other infrastructure projects, including the new lock in Zeebrugge and the Oosterweel road project around Antwerp.



Related news

Website preview
New digital platform aims to reduce drug trafficking in port of Antwerp
A new certification system for containers was introduced at the Port of Antwerp on Monday in an effort to reduce illegal drug trafficking...
Website preview
Cargo throughput in Port of Antwerp-Bruges down by 5.5 per cent
Cargo throughput at the port of Antwerp-Bruges, the merged ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge, fell by 5.5 per cent last year, the port authority said...

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels