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Antwerp extends minimum barge call regime

The port of Antwerp is to extend the pilot regarding the bundling of small container barge volumes at least until 3 March

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Antwerp extends minimum barge call regime

The port introduced the minimum call size for barges in November as parts of its drive to improve mobility. Small barge calls aggravate congestion and delays and equipment resources are not optimally utilised.


Due to the extremely low water level on the Rhine, the initial minimal call size was reduced to 20 container moves (loading and unloading) per maritime terminal. As from 3rd December, the applicable minimal call size was 30 moves. The pilot will now last until 3 March 2019.


The container barges in the Port of Antwerp go to eight terminals on average every time. Analysis has shown that almost 60% of the calls of container barges at the maritime terminals are barges with a small call size (less than 30 moves on and off combined) and they transport only 20% of the total volume of inland container shipping in the port. Bundling small volumes to larger call sizes ensures a less complex planning process and a more efficient use of the resources by terminal and barge operators.


Barges that are able to discharge/load the minimum call size or more can go directly to the maritime container terminals in the port. Barge operators with less than the minimum call size (sum of discharge and loading per call) wanting to call at the maritime terminals must consolidate their volumes so that they reach the minimum call size. This is possible by working with other operators or exchanging containers at designated consolidation hubs in the hinterland and the port.


The transit cost on the hub is restricted to €5 per container in the hinterland for the barge operator during the trial period and €10 per container in the port. The hubs invoice this amount directly to the user.

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