Liner carrier Mediterranean Shipping Co. will consolidate its activities at the Port of Antwerp’s Deurganck dock on the left bank of the Scheldt river.
The Antwerp Port Authority, which approved the plan on Monday, said the transfer is needed to allow further expansion by MSC in the Belgian port. MSC announced late last year that it required a larger site because its present terminal on the Delwaide dock had reached saturation and it needed to handle the increasingly larger containerships coming on line, the port authority said.
In a statement, the carrier said the transfer will "enable post-14,000-TEU ships to be included in MSC's Antwerp services in the future."
Antwerp’s Deurganck dock is already used by MSC’s P3 Network partners Maersk Line and CMA CGM.
With a 2013 volume of 4.5 million TEUs, MSC is the Port of Antwerp’s largest container customer. However, the carrier’s terminal in the Delwaide dock had reached full capacity in 2010. The port authority said MSC has been forced to divert containers to other ports in the Hamburg-Le Havre range, so that the level of activity in Antwerp remained static.
The existing MSC Home Terminal in Antwerp is a joint venture between Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) and PSA Antwerp. PSA Antwerp also holds the concession on the West side of the Deurganck dock. To allow a smooth transfer in legal terms, it has been decided that PSA Antwerp will transfer its current concession in the Deurganck dock to a new company, namely PSA DGD, a PSA subsidiary in which TIL also has a stake. It will become known as MSC PSA European Terminal (MPET) on the West side of the Deurganck dock.
The PSA DGD joint venture will have a capacity of more than 7 million TEUs on the West side of the Deurganck dock. “Based on current forecasts for growth — which include not only the expected expansion by MSC but also the additional MSC Home Terminal volumes and the P3/Maersk services — this capacity should quickly be used up. It is, therefore, all the more urgent for additional space to be made available to MSC and the other P3 partners,” the port authority said.
The port authority said the largely unused part of the concession on the east side of the Deurganck dock should be reassigned from the current Antwerp Gateway terminal and given to the new MPET joint venture. The concession for this area will be for an initial seven-year period, however it will be extended if an equivalent alternative area is not made available to MPET, the port authority said.
It added the Antwerp Gateway still has “room for growth in the coming years, even in this configuration.”
"We as MSC have a very long history in the Port of Antwerp," MSC Vice President Diego Aponte said in a statement, "and we are very happy that the port continues to support our plans for further growth.”