In a circular economy, existing materials and products are shared, reused, repaired and recycled for as long as possible to create more value and close materials circuits. The transition to a circular economy is part of our ambition to be a climate-neutral port by 2050. The port area, with an industrial cluster, waste-processing companies and logistics sites, offers numerous opportunities to take a circular approach. In concrete terms, how is Port of Antwerp-Bruges working towards the transition to a circular economy?

Reuse and exchange of raw materials

Most of the substances currently used in industry come from the ground: from petroleum, natural gas and even coal. When these are processed, CO₂ is released into the atmosphere. By reusing raw materials, we avoid this as much as possible. Port of Antwerp-Bruges therefore supports industry to reuse raw materials as a basis for new chemical processes and products. This is called circular chemistry.


Together with companies in our port, we therefore look for solutions to make sustainable use of natural resources. One application of circular chemistry, for example, is processing plastic waste into chemical building blocks. From oil, we make plastic granules that can then be used in, among others, the medical sector, energy sector or for packaging.

As a world port, we want to play a pioneering role in the transition to a circular economy, both within our own organisation, on the port platform and beyond.

Jacques VandermeirenCEO Port of Antwerp-Bruges


Together with several large chemical companies, we are developing infrastructure to capture and store CO₂ on a large scale in empty gas fields in the North Sea, also known as Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS). By 2030, we want to capture half of the 18 million tonnes of CO₂ that the port emits every year. In the next step, we will reuse that CO₂ on a large scale for the production of a variety of products.

Reuse of water

At the port, we reuse materials and raw materials, but we also focus on exchanging them. Pure water is an important raw material for industry. Together with the University of Antwerp, we are mapping out which companies in the port can reuse or exchange water in order to counteract scarcity during dry months.

Stimulating circularity and attracting new players

We want to attract new business and encourage the existing industry at the port to make the transition to a circular economy. For this, we are creating the necessary space, developing the necessary infrastructure and encouraging innovation. The port area is a 'living lab', an open innovation platform where innovative technologies can be tested and can develop.

NextGen District

NextGen District will be the circular-economy hotspot in Antwerp, on the former 88-hectare site of General Motors. Innovative players in the circular process and manufacturing industry will give 'end-of-life' products a second or third life, explore circular carbon solutions and carry out projects with renewable energy.

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NextGen District nodigt je uit om te investeren uit om te investeren in het hart van de chemische industrie in de haven van Antwerpen. Ondernemen als onderdeel van een bruisend netwerk in het logistieke centrum van Europa.

Use of residual heat - Antwerp North heat grid

In Antwerp, various partners are working together on the first open access heat grid in Belgium. The treatment processes at Indaver release significant amounts of heat. This heat is already being used for the company's own business processes and to generate electricity. The residual heat remaining after the generation of electricity is still suitable for heating applications.


Together with Indaver, we are providing a basic grid for industry, to which Fluvius will subsequently connect a residential heat grid on behalf of the city of Antwerp. When the pipeline network is fully constructed and operational, this heat grid will account for annual CO₂ savings of 80,000 tons. A unique feature of this grid is that it will be an 'open access' network: it will be open to additional sources and buyers of heat who wish to join at a later stage.

Circular cycle path

An 800-metre-long cycle path on the Right Bank in the Antwerp port area is a breakthrough in circularity. In addition to benefits in terms of water absorption and resistance, the reuse of recycled plastic will also reduce CO₂ emissions. The two innovative techniques used are a first in Belgium and contribute to the Port of Antwerp-Bruges' ambition to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

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The construction of the circular cycle path at Zomerweg.

Antwerp Recycling Hub

Together with the Flanders Institute for Logistics (VIL) we are exploring the potential of setting up a recycling hub, a kind of circular (plastics) cluster, with a view to closing materials circuits. The goal of this Antwerp Recycling Hub is to bring together and support the companies involved to jointly develop and implement innovative recycling activities.

Symbiosis in industry

What is a waste stream for one company may be a valuable raw material for another. Industrial symbiosis is the high-end utilisation of residual flows from one company in another company, that reuses or recycles them.

A range of possibilities in Zeebrugge

Zeebrugge has various sites where projects relating to the circular economy can be developed. As such, the areas that may or may not be considered for the future are currently being carefully looked into.  

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