The Belgian Ghent Port Company and the Dutch Zeeland Seaports have been jointly promoting the assets of the powerful economic region between Flushing and Ghent for some time already. From Monday 24 up to and including Friday 28 August, both port companies and some 20 businesses and organizations from their ports will be travelling to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for the promotion of the ports there. More specifically the sectors of liquid and dry bulk, biochemicals and biomass, fertilizers and agricultural products will be highlighted.

The Ghent–Terneuzen Canal Zone is the life line of the entire region of Zeeland Flanders and Ghent that connects the two medium-sized seaports. When adding up the seaborne cargo traffic of both ports — 61mt (million tonnes) — they form the seventh port of Western Europe. Zeeland Seaports, comprising the ports of Flushing and Terneuzen, is located at the beginning of the Canal Zone, at the Western Scheldt, in the direction of the North Sea. Port of Ghent is situated some 30km further inland. It is important for both ports that existing companies keep on investing there and that new initiatives are developed around the Kluizendok in Ghent and at Axel’s Plain, among other regions. For this purpose, a number of commercial activities, fairs, conferences and missions are undertaken jointly.


Ghent Port Company and Zeeland Seaports are organizing this trip together and it is headed by both executive directors, respectively Daan Schalck and Jan Lagasse. The aim is to further contacts and trade between the companies from the Ghent- Terneuzen Canal Zone and the Baltic States. With a joint traffic of 4.2mt, the Baltic States are an important trading partner. For Ghent they are the fourth-biggest trading partner (2.1mt) and for Zeeland Seaports they are the fifth (also 2.1mt).

Besides companies, also Portiz (Port & Industry Zeeland), Zeeland Port Promotion Council (ZPPC: comparable to the Flemish Flanders Investment & Trade [FIT]) and Invest in Zeeland will also be travelling along.


On the first day, Monday, the delegation will be visiting the port of Muuga in Estonia, near the Russian border. On Tuesday, the port of Sillama¨e in Estonia will be visited followed by the city of Tallinn. On Wednesday, the port of Riga in Latvia will be paid a visit. In the evening, also the Dutch ambassador Van den Dool and the Belgian honorary consul Gavars will be present. On Tuesday, the delegation will go to Klaipe´da, in Lithuania, where the port will be visited.The Dutch ambassadorVan der Lingen will also be present in the evening.

During those four days, there will each time be meetings between local companies and Belgian and Dutch firms. On Friday, the mission will be ended in the Lithuanian city of Vilnius.


The joint promotion of the Canal Zone is one step further in the co-operation between Zeeland Seaports and Ghent Port Company. Both port companies have been working together already on the new lock in Terneuzen and on sustainable port development. They are also cooperating on one single port information system for all vessels, shipping agents and companies in the Canal Zone with the aim of carrying out and guiding navigation more smoothly and efficiently. At the end of August 2014, both ports already paid a visit to the port of

Copenhagen-Malmo¨. The co-operation between these Danish and Swedish ports formed the inspiration for a further cooperation between the Ghent and Zeeland ports. In both cases, it concerns a cooperation between two ports in one single economic zone and in two different countries that join hands in order to develop their port activities.

Last June as well, both ports were together present at the real estate fair Provada in Amsterdam. Moreover, the cross-border bio-based economy is jointly promoted at the renowned ‘Biofuels International’ fair. The latter will take place in September in the Portuguese city of Porto. As both ports are strong in the transhipment of bulk cargo, they will also be present at the networking event of the IBJ Awards, issued by the International Bulk Journal. Ghent has already won a number of these much- sought-after awards. In November it is off to the Turkish city of Istanbul for the promotion of the logistical trumps at the ‘Logitrans Istanbul’ fair.

The Ghent–Terneuzen Canal Zone is centrally located and can serve no fewer than 500 million consumers within a radius of 500km. With a joint seaborne cargo traffic of 61mt, both ports together form the number seven of Europe. Besides, together they also register another 57mt of inland cargo traffic. The Canal Zone is 9,300 hectares large and receives 8,500 seagoing vessels per year. The area counts 80,000 inhabitants, 92,000 workers and over 500 companies. It is good for an added value of 11.5 billion.

In these past few years, huge investments have been made in the improvement of the (maritime) infrastructure: the recently opened Sluiskil tunnel, the new lock in Terneuzen by 2021, improved inland connections between the rivers Seine in France and the Western Scheldt and a faster and safer circulation of traffic on the R4-West and R4-East (the ring road around Ghent port). There is a border-crossing cooperation with Bio Base Europe concerning the bio-based economy: a training centre for operators in Terneuzen and a pilot factory in Ghent port. The Ghent Kluizendok and the Zeeland Axel’s Plain form over 700 hectares of space for investments.

The Ghent–Terneuzen Canal is 32km long: 17km on Dutch territory and 15km in Flanders. The Canal has no tides. It has a depth of water of 13.5 metres and is accessible to Panamax vessels up to 92,000dwt having a maximum draught of 12.5 metres.