We are using a range of indicators to approach improving the sustainability of shipping. This involves looking at the evolution in maritime transshipment, the number of ships calling, emission-reduction technology, the volume of alternative fuels bunkered, etc. After all, we are working hard to make shipping more sustainable at the port.

©Bron: Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Evolution in maritime transshipment

Maritime transshipment rose further in 2019, but saw a slight fall in 2020. 14,391 seagoing vessels moored up in 2019 and 13,655 in 2020.


The growth in maritime transshipment can be explained by the increase in shipping scale. In 2019, the port had 640 seagoing vessels with a capacity of more than 10,000 TEU (+ 2.9% compared to 2018), including 450 with more than 13,000 TEU (+ 10% compared to 2018). In 2020, 580 ships with a size of more than 10,000 TEU moored up.


©Source: Antwerp Port Authority

Number of ship calls

Grafieken©Source: Antwerp Port Authority
Verified data

Number of calls with emission-reduction technology

Emission rules impose certain reductions upon shipping companies to keep the impact on the climate and the environment as low as possible. More and more ships are equipped with emission-reduction technologies. A few examples:

  • Scrubbers wash the exhaust gases and remove SO2 and particulates from the air
  • catalytic reduction systems reduce NOx in the exhaust gases

The rise in the number of ships with emission-reduction technologies is partly down to the worldwide limit on the sulphur content in fuel since 1 January 2020. Companies will need to tackle this. Scrubbers provide an answer: they wash the exhaust when cheaper fuel with a high sulphur content is used, so that the emissions stay within the norm. Ships do then need to dispose of the washing water, however.


As a port community, we are encouraging the use of clean fuels, but with a focus on clean surface water too. This is why there is a discharge ban in force for water from scrubbers in all Flemish inland waterways. Ships that are unable to set their scrubber to ‘closed mode’ – whereby they only discharge into open sea – are then obliged to switch to more expensive, low-sulphur fuels.


Number of ships with alternative fuels calling

Data will be updated later

Volume of alternative fuels bunkered

​​​​​​Data will be updated later

Grafieken©Source: Antwerp Port Authority

Environmental Shipping Index discounts issued

Ships performing better in terms of air emissions (NOx, SO2 and CO2) and going beyond the legal obligations receive a discount on the harbour dues in Antwerp. The discount is calculated using the Environmental Shipping Index (ESI) from the International Association of Ports and Harbours. In 2019, the port of Antwerp adopted a new implementation method in the NOx sub-score of the ESI score. This lowered the number of ships receiving a discount. The sulphur content in ships' fuel was further limited under international law in 2020. This made it more difficult to perform better than the norm and the number of ships receiving a discount at the port of Antwerp dropped further.


A total of 1,642 calls received a discount in 2019, for 527 different ships. There were 1,212 calls by 454 different ships in 2020.


Shore power consumption for inland navigation, river cruises and our own fleet

Data will be updated later