The port of Antwerp is a vast area. This makes safety and security a challenge that is taken very seriously.

Smart technologies are proving their worth at the port. A ‘digital twin’ of the port, a high-performance 5G network, autonomous drones or smart cameras for inspection or oil spill detection – Port of Antwerp-Bruges is testing them all. With the help of these innovations, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is aiming to fully control and manage the port remotely.


To make the large and complex port area even safer, more efficient and smarter, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is working with various partners to build a network of manned and autonomous flying drones. The drones serve to inspect infrastructure, along with surveillance and monitoring, incident management, berth management and oil spill or floating waste detection.


More than 600 cameras keep an eye on the port of Antwerp. These smart cameras can recognise objects thanks to computer vision technology. This makes the maintenance and inspection of bridges, locks and quay walls easier. The cameras can also measure cargo traffic at the port and increase overall security.


In the future, 5G will form an important link in the port of Antwerp's digital nervous system. This could be to send through and process images and data from drones and cameras in real-time.


©Source: Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Number of incident alerts

Security alerts

The federal Waterway Police's alert system, along with the Harbourmaster's Office system, received 224 security alerts in 2018. These alerts involve security breaches and non-urgent, suspicious situations, such as the presence of drones, damage to enclosures and suspicious behaviour. The number of alerts fell by 25 percent in 2018 compared to 2016. The services involved will investigate the alerts and then tighten security procedures based on this.


Security network

The port of Antwerp has a security network in which public and private partners collaborate closely:

Police, customs, State Security, federal emergency planning service, disaster co-ordinators, fire brigade, port facility security officers, safety managers, CEPA (the employers' organisation for dockers) and other stakeholders. The security measures and intensive collaboration make the port less vulnerable to situations that could put employees and local residents in danger.


Grafieken©Source: Port of Antwerp
Verified data

Number of oil incidents recorded

There were 41 reports of oil incidents in 2020, 26 of which with a known perpetrator. This is fewer reports, which is down to the smaller number of ships calling in that year. The main cause is incidents with loading and unloading operations. Other incidents occur during bunkering operations or after excessive rainfall (whereby oil from the sewers ends up in the docks), with historical soil pollution that ends up in the dock water via the groundwater, with leakage from ships or installations and owing to a lack of precautionary measures among port users. The total cost picture for the interventions resulting from oil incidents amounted to 1,116,917 euros in 2020. An external service provider was appointed in 2015 to clean up oil pollution in a suitable and, where possible, ecological manner. Every two weeks after minor incidents or immediately after a major incident, an evaluation is set up with those involved.  The incident co-ordinators of Port of Antwerp-Bruges are on call 24/7 to support both our own organisation and the (public) emergency services with incidents.

Graphic on causes of known and unknown perpetrators of oil incidents to follow later.


Grafieken©Source: Port of Antwerp

Costs of oil incidents