North Sea Port clears 400 hectares for circular businesses
North Sea Port is committed to a circular port industry in the coming years. 400 to 500 hectares of available space will shape that ambition. CEO Daan Schalck announced this during a webinar on 20 April.
North Sea Port says it is resolutely opting for circularity. Over the next five to 10 years, Schalck expects to spend some 400 to 500 hectares to shape circularity. “Those sites are a huge asset. We already have both vacant land and space that can be released quickly. With that, we will get it going quickly.” According to Schalck, this includes both existing companies that will get space to expand and new innovative players.
North Sea Port’s choice for circularity also means that it has little ambition to attract transatlantic cargo flows to the merger port. “It is also not the aim to focus on containers on a large scale. Admittedly for certain niches, such as fruit, but we will not compete with Antwerp and Rotterdam,” Schalck clarified during the ‘Circular Port’ webinar.
This period is a crucial time for North Sea Port, the CEO explained. “We merged three years ago and are now in the final phase for the strategic plan. It is also a pivotal moment in Europe as we look at climate ambitions and the recovery of the economy after COVID-19. We want to capitalise on that through North Sea Port 2.0.”
The spearhead for this will be circularity. “We have a lot of basic industry, such as chemicals, fertiliser, refining, steel, cement and bio-industry, which are all large-scale and emit a lot of CO2. They produce waste streams that we want to reuse. Otherwise, the industrial port is doomed to disappear in the long run.”
Incidentally, there are quite a few sectors strongly represented in the North Sea Port area that are not seen as circular such as automotive, food, steel and chemicals. “It is not that we suddenly have no space for such companies. These are engines of employment. But we are going to keep a lot of our sites free to build out the value chains around circularity. That means we will sometimes say ‘no’ if it is not circular.”