The container terminals MSC PSA European Terminal (MPET) and DP World Antwerp Gateway, both located in the Deurganck dock, are due to extend their opening hours so that fetching or delivering containers by truck can carry on around the clock on weekdays. With this measure the operators seek to spread the flow of trucks on their terminals more efficiently.
Thanks to the extended working hours, quays 1700 (Antwerp Gateway) and 1742 (MPET) – the largest container terminals in the port of Antwerp – will be open non-stop from 0500 hours (Antwerp Gateway) and 0530 (MPET) on Monday morning to 0530 on Saturday morning. Currently the Antwerp Gateway is open from 0500 to 2130 and MPET from 0530 to 2130.
By operating around the clock in this way the terminals seek to increase their capacity and spread out their handling volumes. DP World Antwerp handles some 1,700 trucks per day and MPET around 2,600. Analysis has shown that the handling time at both terminals tends to get longer from 1100 onwards, with a peak at 1700. After 1900 the number of trucks drops considerably, and so calling later in the day yields significant time savings. Permitting deliveries and collections at night also will further extend this quiet period.
By extending their opening hours the container terminals hope to offer better service for their customers. The truck companies themselves have asked for the opening hours to be extended, and shippers also are in favour of the initiative.
“At Van Moer Logistics, our reliability and punctuality are vital to our customers. We are pleased that structural measures are being considered so that we can serve our customers and warehouses outside the congestion hours. We support this 100%, and we count on the collaboration of all stakeholders who can contribute to its success,” declares Jo Van Moer, CEO of Van Moer Logistics.
The initiative for the measure comes from the terminal operators, along with MSC, and is supported by the wider port community. However, in order to make a success of the 24/5 opening it is essential for everyone to cooperate. Support from the shippers and logistics service providers is crucial, for example by also extending the opening hours of warehouses both inside the port and beyond it. It is hoped that shipping operators too will show more flexibility.
At MPET, Medrepair (S11) will also adopt the extended opening hours as of 1 April. Global Container Services, the empties depot for Antwerp Gateway, is holding back for the moment but is already open from 0500 to 2130. At Antwerp Gateway on the other hand the block stack (park 3 on quay 1700) will also be open around the clock so that trucks can call there for empty containers.
Since the customs desk will not be open at night, at least for the time being, it is very important for the necessary administrative arrangements for containers to be settled, such as pre-registration and clearance.