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Port of Antwerp Recycling Hub
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Port of Antwerp Recycling Hub

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Spatial-economic exploration

In the 'Sustainable Growth' working area, the Port of Antwerp seeks to achieve new developments on the port platform, in addition to more sustainability and a stronger cluster.  Under the ‘Sustainable Transition’ label, the port is making the transition to a low-carbon or circular economy. In this framework, the Port of Antwerp wanted to explore the economic and spatial potential for the development of an industrial recycling/processing/(re-)manufacturing cluster with transshipment activities on or near the port area.

The brief

The mission was to develop multiple scenarios, examining the possibilities for various materials cycles, for clustering industrial, warehousing and transshipment operations. This could be done either at one central, waterfront site or based on a more decentralised approach, whereby the entire port area could serve as a location for various operations. The key question: which of these scenarios best meets the requirements associated with the cluster’s development on the port platform?

The solution

The study was subdivided into five steps:

  1. Firstly, an overview of the volumes of waste-related materials flows with a marine component was established. Five flows were selected, based on their relevance in terms of mass criteria. The position of the Port of Antwerp in relation to these flows was also taken into account.
  2. The challenges and threats for economic activities in these flows were then examined. The flow for which the identified obstacles were deemed the greatest was eliminated.
  3. The scenario with the worst score for the waste value chains that were studied, both in the Port of Antwerp and the hinterland, was then eliminated. 
  4. Two scenarios were then distilled, to refine the process even further. These tie in with the strategic priorities and transition objectives of the Port of Antwerp and take into account the insights and possibilities of existing concession holders. 
  5. Finally, the spatial feasibility of both scenarios was examined and the determining parameters visualised.

The result

  • 23 materials flows studies
  • 10 interviews with sector specialists
  • 3 promising materials flows

Partners and collaborations

The study was carried out in collaboration with VITO and Rebel Group. The Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) knows the Flemish (and European) waste and recycling landscape better than anyone else. One of VITO’s research domains is aimed at providing technology and policy support for sustainable materials management. VITO therefore carried out the research into promising materials flows. Rebel Group analysed the value chains within the selected materials flows and organised various interviews with sector specialists in this framework. Finally, Antea Group was tasked with transposing the concept to the field, and testing its spatial feasibility.


Met dit project ondersteunen wij de Duurzame Ontwikkelingsdoelstellingen van de Verenigde Naties:

SDG 9 - Industrie, innovatie en infrastructuurSDG 11 - Duurzame steden en gemeenschappenSDG 12 - Verantwoorde consumptie en productieSDG 14 - Leven onder waterSDG 17 - Partnerschappen