Remediated Zeebrugge Carcoke site ready to attract maritime traffic, but not yet green light

The redevelopment of the former Carcoke site in Zeebrugge is in the final stages, according to public owner OVAM. The port authority wants to attract maritime traffic there, but has not yet been given the green light. Redevelopment for circular economy will be considered for this and other (remediated) sites in the inner port at the request of OVAM.

At the Bruges city council, Andries Neirynck (Groen) was asked about the future plans after the remediated of Carcoke on the adjacent Zeematex and other remediated areas in the port of Zeebrugge. “In 2021, the former port authority informed MBZ that a new use would be sought with the city council. To this end, the owner, the Flemish Public Waste Agency (OVAM), carried out a reconversion study. What is the current situation: are these sites remediated and can they be used again?

The remediation of the particularly contaminated 12.7 hectare Carcoke site (the demolished coking plant) has already cost 72 million euros. OVAM intends to concede the sites along the Bouwdewijn Kanaal to the Port Authority for the development of water-based circular activities.

Development of maritime transport

According to information received by Neirynck from the municipality in January 2023, the contaminated soil has been excavated to a depth of two to three metres, with the exception of a strip with a natural gas pipeline along the Lisseweegsesteenweg. According to OVAM, an investigation into locally high concentrations of contamination deeper than four metres is still ongoing. “These do not pose an above-ground health risk, but may spread further via the groundwater. Subject to the appropriate agreements, the redevelopment of the site is already possible,” it concludes.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges Vice-Chairman and Mayor Dirk De fauw (CD&V) replied. “The remediation of the Carcoke site by OVAM is in its final phase. The soil has been remediated, but the treatment of the groundwater is still ongoing. When fully completed, the site will be used again for port-related activities. Due to its ideal location on the future channel of the new lock, priority will be given to activities that generate significant maritime traffic. For this and other remediated sites in the inner harbour, circular economy applications will be considered at the request of OVAM”.

Unknown location for Gardec

Neirynck is also involved in the preservation of the historic meadows between Zeebrugge and Bruges. Specifically, the De Spie area, which is being considered for industrial development, but whose importance to regional water management is stressed by Groen. “If the Carcoke site is released, it will provide space for companies such as the logistics group ECS to expand, or the ship repair company Gardec to relocate because of the construction of the new lock. Can we therefore spare De Spie?

De fauw: “Another waterfront site in the inner harbour has been reserved for the part of Gardec that has to relocate. At the request of the company, this location has not yet been made public. We are also discussing with the company the possibility of expanding ECS. However, I must emphasise that we are primarily looking forward to maritime transhipment at the Carcoke site.

This article by Roel Jacobus first appeared (in Dutch) on Flows News – February 28, 2023



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