Blocked Buda Bridge threatens Brussels fuel supplies
If the damaged Buda Bridge in Brussels does not reopen soon, the Belgian Capital Region's supply of petrol and heating oil will be compromised as it is the only passage to the Port of Brussels for freight traffic from the north.
The Buda Bridge in the Brussels district of Neder-over-Heembeek has been defective since Friday after a large barge collided head-on with the bridge. On average, 10 to 20 boats pass through the port daily, but this has not been possible for several days now.
The bridge cables will first be disconnected, after which the bridge will be towed away. How long this process will take is still unclear, but the Port of Brussels hopes that shipping can be resumed as soon as possible.
As the only passage to the Port of Brussels for cargo traffic from the north, the bridge allows cargo ships to bring construction materials, containers full of products such as clothes and food, as well as fuel, into Brussels.
If the bridge does not reopen on Monday, supplies to Brussels will be compromised: the supply of petrol and heating oil will be the first to be affected. This concerns petroleum products supplied to petrol stations but also heating oil, which 17% of Brussels residents use to heat their homes.
Companies that import these products work with a three-day supply, but Brussels residents will not immediately be without heating if that supply runs out, Sylvain Godfroid of the Port of Brussels told Bruzz. Oil companies will first look for other means of transport, including truck delivery.
The canal is the only way to travel from Antwerp towards Charleroi – especially for heavy cargo ships, which is another reason to reopen the bridge soon.
The Buda Bridge is owned by the Port of Brussels, responsible for day-to-day operations, and located at Neder-Over-Heembeek and Haren. It is a lift bridge with a headway of 33 metres that, in normal times, makes the maritime outer port accessible 24/7.
The Buda Bridge in Neder-over-Heembeek, Belgium © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND