Construction of pipeline between Antwerp port and German Ruhr region postponed again
Plans for an underground pipeline to link the port of Antwerp-Bruges with Germany's Ruhr region have once again been postponed. At the earliest next year, there would be a new starting note with a consultation round.
For years, the chemical industry in particular has been asking for a pipeline that can transport carbon dioxide or propane gas, for example. That way, they would need fewer trucks for transport. Not only the Belgian and German industries would benefit, but also the industry in the Dutch province of Limburg.
In 2019, half a dozen major chemical companies - including BASF and INEOS - signed a cooperation agreement with the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam. Construction was scheduled to start in 2023. However, the pipeline subsequently met with much protest, partly because it passes through several nature and agricultural areas.
That the project has been postponed is evident from an answer by Flemish environment and energy minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA), to a question by Flemish MP Ludwig Vandenhove (Vooruit). Only next year will the council of ministers discuss the pipeline further. After approval of the full route, all necessary environmental permits can be applied for.
A total of dozens of negative opinions against the pipeline were received from various boards and administrations. In addition, thousands of individuals have filed objections, digitally or otherwise. Some eighty houses are threatened with expropriation.
Partners who want to build the pipeline now have to look for alternatives, possibly along canals as fewer people live there. Next year there will be a new starting memorandum with a consultation round, which should ensure more support.
© BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS - Port of Antwerp-Bruges