The port of Zeebrugge is thé hub of excellence for cargo to and from the United Kingdom.
With 16.4 million tonnes (2020) of freight transhipment, 35% of the Port of Zeebrugge’s total volume, the UK is our main trading partner. (70% export, 30% import)
In Zeebrugge, the UK related cargo exists mainly of roll-on/roll-off cargo: 14.8 million tonnes.
On this page, you will find the general information regarding the Brexit preparations of the Port of Zeebrugge.
No less than 70 liner services per week link Zeebrugge and the European mainland with numerous British ports and Ireland.
Our core business consists of providing tailor-made solutions for all the cargo traffic to the UK. Zeebrugge is a bridgehead for just-in-time supplies into the UK markets.
Being the largest car handling port in the world with a total annual handling volume of 2.9 million new vehicles, we supply the UK markets with approximately 850.000 new cars and high&heavy loads.
Focus on unaccompanied freight: only 2% of the roro-traffic in the Port of Zeebrugge is accompanied by the driver. Shipping freight ‘unaccompanied’ offers many advantages, both in time and in administration. With 98% unaccompanied roro cargo, the Port of Zeebrugge’s business model is robust and reliable.
Direct connections to Ireland: The port of Zeebrugge is directly connected to several ports in Ireland and the frequency of these sailings has been increased.
In order to guarantee a smooth flow of cargo after Brexit, the Zeebrugge port authority has taken various initiatives in cooperation with the private port community, the port companies and the public authorities on the Flemish, federal and European levels. The port authority is also in close contact with the British customs services and British ports.
RX/SeaPort is a digital platform connecting all the parties involved in Zeebrugge's logistics chain. It allows these parties to exchange data and information via a single unique and secure connection. This digital solution for all cargo streams to and from the United Kingdom, a joint initiative of the port authority and the private port community, is ready for use.
RX/SeaPort introduced several tools specifically designed to maintain the flow in the Port of Zeebrugge:
GREEN LIGHT CHECK: UK-cargo can be given a ‘green light’ in the RX/SeaPort platform when it has met the necessary formal requirements for import and export such as a booking with the terminal and an MRN-number. A red light is a signal that the cargo will not be accepted at the terminal.
GREEN LANES: This tool is developed to aid the traffic organization and possible triaging in the hinterland and will allow the enforcement authorities to check a cargo’s status (both UK and non UK) and permit it to proceed to the Port of Zeebrugge. In case of heavy congestion in Zeebrugge, the ‘green’ traffic flows will be guaranteed access to the port while ‘red’ trucks and cargo are held back in the hinterland.
How does Green Lanes work and what do you need to do?
Every cargo operator in Zeebrugge can register to use the Green Lane application. Contact RX/SeaPort (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and define your choice:
1/ As cargo operator in Zeebrugge I give the permission to give all the cargo for my location a green lane.
2/ As UK-cargo operator in Zeebrugge I can only accept cargo thas has a 'green light check' (in order with all the necessary administration concerning export to the UK). I can only provide a green lane to cargo that meets this condition.
3/ I choose the real-time option: When I am aware of a unit of cargo that is on its way to my location, I will decide at that moment if I will give the cargo a green lane.
4/ I choose not to receive cargo.
The cargo operator will need the haulier/driver to complete the registration (with the licence plate of the cargo) in the system. The RX/SeaPort platform will link this information to a green or red status. In the case of congestion and checks in the hinterland, the cargo's status will be accessible for enforcement authorities after filling in several details such as unit number, terminal in Zeebrugge, booking (optional) and licence plate. The driver can also show the confirmed green lane status through the information on his or her phone. The website where this information will be available, will be communicated later.
BEWARE: For UK cargo, the booking and MRN is necessary. These loads must fulfill the green light check in RX/SeaPort, because they need to meet the requirements for shipping between the EU and the UK. The Green Lanes application is designed to the benefit of both UK cargo and non UK cargo and is a tool that is accessible for anyone who needs to check if a certain unit is expected at the terminal in Zeebrugge and has the permission to come to Zeebrugge.
Zeebrugge has a designated Border Inspection Post, where the Belgian customs services and the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FAFSC) already have people and equipment in place. The FAFSC performs checks on both packaged goods and non-packaged goods.
The FAFSC is also connected to the RX/SeaPort platform. A new procedure has been set up for the handling of Irish goods reaching Zeebrugge via the UK landbridge.
Logistical preparations: The port has drawn up a contingency plan to safeguard the mobility and access to the port and port companies at all times. Together with the local police and other authorities, a circulation plan for traffic in the port and the close region has been created. The circulation plan in the port area is coordinated by our harbour masters’ office. The mobility plan of the police forces will be set in motion in several phases, based on the situation in the port. This plan includes the broader region around the port.
There is a close cooperation with the governor of West-Flanders, Carl Decaluwé, and the National Crisis Centre in Brussels.
Read about how to prepare your own business and your cargo shipping for Brexit:
In order to guarantee a smooth flow of goods, it is very important that everyone takes the necessary measures. For questions about the RX/Seaport tool, please contact: https://rxseaport.eu/en/contact/. More questions about Brexit? Contact us via the Brexit email.
Brexit Impact Scan (Dutch only)
Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) offers specific guidance to companies focusing on the UK. (Dutch only)
Have a look at the website of FAVV.
European Commission info on getting ready for the end of the transition period https://ec.europa.eu/info/european-union-and-united-kingdom-forging-new-partnership/future-partnership/getting-ready-end-transition-period_en
In need of a customs or forwarding agent? Check the list here: www.apzi.be/leden
INFORMATION FOR THE PRESS
Interview requests must be made via our Communications Department: +32 50 543 329 or by leaving your information via the general number +32 50 543 322.
Please read the following instructions concerning filming or photographing in the port area.
You can also e-mail our press office.