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How ICO makes the Port of Zeebrugge an e-car hub

Already the world’s largest port for the shipment of light vehicles, the Port of Zeebrugge has become a key hub for e-cars as well. Thanks to International Car Operators (ICO), this port in Flanders is now equipped to import electric cars into Europe. “In addition to growing our volumes, our focus is on creating a green terminal,” emphasizes ICO Managing Director Marc Adriansens.

State-of-the-art terminal

ICO, a Japanese world leader in car transshipment, provides an important worldwide hub for roll-on/roll-off goods at its site in Zeebrugge, Flanders. With over 1,250 employees, ICO is a major driving force for the local economy – and that’s only the beginning. To accommodate the import of over 3,000 e-cars every week, ICO invested EUR 60 million in the expansion of the Port of Zeebrugge in 2019.

As a player at the world’s largest automotive port, it is our responsibility to provide our clients with top-notch infrastructure.

Marc Adriansens
Managing Director at ICO

ICO’s considerable investment included the construction of a new head office, housing 150 employees of both operational and corporate departments, and a 54-hectare expansion of the Bastenaken Terminal in Zeebrugge. “In addition, a new quay wall – constructed by the Port of Zeebrugge – allows 16 ships to operate simultaneously. We are delighted with this expansion as it offers our customers a state-of-the-art terminal,” says Adriansens.

Gateway to Europe

The first batch of e-cars disembarked at the Port of Zeebrugge in early 2019. The vehicles are then transported to pick-up points in 14 countries, illustrating the importance of the terminal as a key gateway to the European mainland. In the short term, one-third of the cars passing through the port are expected to be electric. The expansion of the terminal creates some 100 additional jobs, with employees inspecting, washing and updating the cars and preparing them for delivery.

We are delighted to offer our customers a state-of-the-art terminal.

Marc Adriansens
Managing Director at ICO

Flanders’ largest onshore wind farm

To charge the e-cars arriving at the port, a large number of electrical loading stations is required. In addition to the solar panels already in place, ICO is developing a new wind farm to provide the necessary power. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill wind farm, either. The terminal is home to the largest onshore wind farm in Flanders, with 11 turbines producing a total capacity of 44 MW – which amounts to an annual production of 110 GWh.

The wind farm powers, among other things, over 300 charging stations. The chargers are equipped with intelligent software and mobile communication capabilities to enable the remote control of the power flow. This battery charging area is the largest of its kind in Europe.

The wind farm is an important step in ICO’s ambition to build a green terminal.

Marc Adriansens
Managing Director at ICO

Sustainable growth

The wind energy produced by the terminal is also used by the local community, supporting 30,000 families, and by moored ships, allowing them to turn off their engines completely during port operations. “The on-site generation of green energy prevents the emission of an estimated 50,000 tons of CO2 per year. The wind farm is an important step in ICO’s ambition to build a green terminal. Continued growth and expansion combined with the digitalization of a green terminal is very much in line with our group strategy,” states Marc Adriansens.

To top it all off, ICO’s commitment to the sustainable growth of the local economy in Flanders earned the company a nomination for the 2020 Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy. 

Reported by
Flanders Investment & Trade
27 November 2020

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