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Antwerp unveils plan to reduce barge congestion

2018-04-24

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

Like the Port of Rotterdam, the Port of Antwerp has unveiled structural measures to mitigate the problem of barge congestion as surging ocean container volume through Europe's second largest port has provoked regular delays for the 2.6 million TEU transported annually to and from inland terminals.

All stakeholders signed a roadmap to make container barge transport more efficient. Waiting times for barge operators have recently varied between 24 an 48 hours. With the agreement, the parties have not only confirmed their previous commitments but have also worked out structural and above all feasible solutions to permit sustainable growth of container barge transport and of the port of Antwerp itself.

"This is an excellent, future-oriented plan that will benefit the entire port and barge community," said port CEO Jacques Vandermeiren.

The agreement announced on April 19 concentrated on three areas: planning and collaboration, consolidation and digitisation. In a key feature, the three leading terminals (PSA,MPET and DP World) are carrying out a large-scale trial to deal with barge scheduling on a port-wide basis, thereby streamlining the entire process for all parties.

Following record container throughput in 2017, The Port of Antwerp recently reported its best ever quarter, with Q1 2018 container cargo rising by 10.7% to 2.7 million TEU. (Photo APA)

 
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