Babcock & Brown Infrastructure, which owns PD Ports, has bought 51 per cent of Water Container Transport (WCT), the second largest inland (canal based) container port in Europe by volume.
The container terminal, located in Meerhout, Belgium, is 8.5 hectares in area and lies at the centre of the largest container demand region of Europe. WCT has 350 metres of wharf on the Albert Canal with marine and rail links to major container ports of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. WCT has annual container throughput of over 170,000 TEU. A rail terminal also links WCT with these ports and into the mainland European hinterland through shuttle block trains.
WCT’s infrastructure and quay cranes are currently operating at approximately 50 per cent capacity so there is potential for future growth.
PD Ports will manage WCT, which lies adjacent to Nike’s distribution centre for the whole of Europe. The daily barge & rail operations of the WCT container terminal will be controlled using similar IT terminal management systems to those in operation at PD Ports’ existing container terminals.
WCT also operates container barges between its facilities and the ports of Zeebrugge, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam which collectively handle some 15 million TEU and around 600 million tonnes of port traffic.
David Robinson, chief executive of PD Ports, said: “WCT provides PD Ports with a significant container handling base at the heart of North West Europe. We already have plans to increase our share of UK container flows through our Northern Gateway Container Terminal project for a major deep sea container terminal at Teesport. With WCT, we can work directly with shipping lines serving a far wider customer base and serving new markets.”