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The longest swing bridge in Europe connects both sides of the port for cars, pedestrians and cyclists, Source: Port Antwerp-Bruges

Largest swing bridge in Europe opened at the new Antwerp-Bruges port

Largest swing bridge in Europe opened at the new Antwerp-Bruges port

Apart from car lanes, the 130-metre-long structure also features a 4-metre-wide bike lane

Last week, port authorities in the new joint Antwerp-Bruges inaugurated the longest swing bridge in Europe. The bridge construction took an investment of 34 million euros. It was completed during the pandemic and now boasts an impressive length of 130 metres, a passage width of 55 metres and a bike path wide 4 metres.

The new infrastructure was aimed at improving the connections between the outer and inner harbours at Zeebrugge, while the moving parts of the bridge would allow large sea-bound vessels to access the inland portions of the port.

During the inauguration ceremony, the mayor of Bruges, Dirk De Fauw, invited both local residents, port staff and bridge enthusiasts to cycle over it for the first time. He explained that the bridge was an important addition to cycling infrastructure both in Bruges and in the port.

This is because it forms an integral part of a six-kilometre bike route, leading to the port which will enable sustainable commutes from Bruges both to Zeebrugge and the Belgian coast.

One of the largest export hubs in Europe

At the end of April, authorities in Bruges and Antwerp announced that the cities signed a landmark shareholders’ merger agreement for the two ports. The new Antwerp-Bruges port is supposed to become a global trading hub for moving goods.

Work on the merger started back in early 2021 and when it was complete, Antwerp-Bruges accounted for 74,000 direct and 90,000 indirect jobs. Furthermore, it accounted for 21 billion euros of income for Belgium or about 4.5% of the country’s entire GDP.

These figures make it the largest economic engine in Belgium and put it among the largest European export ports, the largest vehicle transhipment ports and the largest integrated chemical clusters on the continent. On top of that, the port of Antwerp-Bruges has a robust climate strategy, that aims to combine a strong economic output with sustainability goals.

According to a statement by the city of Bruges, by 2025, the port will be capable of capturing 2.5 million tons of CO2 from local industry, that could be stored and eventually reused.  At the same time, by 2028, the port aims to be able to receive the first green hydrogen shipments. The bid for expanding hydrogen includes providing pipe infrastructure between the two cities, that would then connect Belgium with the rest of Europe. 

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