Air quality and odour
Together with the companies in the port, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is taking measures to improve air quality and minimise odour and noise pollution. This is how we are working to improve the quality of the environment for our communities and surrounding cities.
Where climate change calls for a global approach, good air quality is primarily a local challenge. Port of Antwerp-Bruges strives to continuously improve the air quality in the broad surroundings of Antwerp and Zeebrugge by reducing the emissions of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the port area. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions were also a concern at one time, but thanks to strict requirements imposed on industry and because the port is a low-emission zone for ships, we have that well under control.
Together with the Flemish Environment Agency, we constantly monitor the air quality in the Antwerp port area. Though we have visibly improved since 2000, we must continue our efforts.
And we too are doing our bit ourselves. Not only are we greening our own fleet, we are also working on the transition to a multi-fuel port with (local production of) alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia and methanol. For example, both ports are developing tugs powered by green hydrogen (retrofit in Zeebrugge and a new tugboat in Antwerp) or green methanol. With the knowledge of both platforms as pioneers in the bunkering of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), Port of Antwerp-Bruges wants to be a forerunner in the use of these new shipping fuels, which not only emit less CO2 but also less PM and NOx.
Today, ships run auxiliary engines when docked. They do that to provide the necessary electricity for all kinds of applications on board. However, this is accompanied by noise pollution and odour nuisance and emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, among others, caused by the burning of conventional fossil fuel.
Using an onshore power installation allows a ship to connect to the electricity grid and turn its auxiliary engines for electricity production off. Both in Zeebrugge and Antwerp, therefore, efforts are being made to mitigate air emissions from shipping (and by extension the entire port platform).
Is there a bad smell at the port? There could be a lot of reasons for that. For example, it could be caused by the loading or unloading of ships, but also by normal residues released during industrial processes. The wind direction determines in which direction the odour spreads further.
Depending on the nature of the report, the emergency services will go out to trace the source and take measurements to assess the health risk. If it is found that there is a potential health risk, the emergency services will announce measures (e.g., closing windows and doors).
Port of Antwerp-Bruges helps the emergency services to trace the source using various data. If the source is found, the culprit is asked to take measures to reduce the nuisance as soon as possible. If it is found that violations against the legislation have occurred, the competent authorities will be informed.
Report odour nuisance in Zeebrugge
Odour nuisance in the Zeebrugge port area can always be reported via ikmeld.be or via the competent supervisor, the environmental department of the city of Bruges. All reports in and around the port area are always jointly investigated and handled through a collaboration between the port authority and the city of Bruges.
Report odour nuisance in Antwerp
All reports relating to the port area are always investigated and dealt with through cooperation between the Environmental Department and the Harbour Master's Office of the Antwerp Port Authority. For odour nuisance in the Antwerp port area, you can make a report.
Sensors to measure air quality
In the Antwerp port area, there are no fewer than 70 virtual noses, called iNoses. These innovative iNoses identify harmful or nuisance-causing gases at the port. On the one hand, they provide real-time information that allows us to act when unauthorised degassing or an incident occurs. On the other hand, we want to be able to warn local residents as soon as nuisance odours are carried in their direction by the wind.
In the coming years, sensors will also be installed in the Zeebrugge port area to measure all kinds of emission parameters.
Together with terminals and shipping companies, we are investigating what measures are needed to limit any noise pollution from port activities as much as possible. In addition to reducing noise pollution from industrial and logistics facilities, replacing the older generation of ships with more modern and especially quieter ships will have a major impact.
These new vessels are equipped with batteries or with an onshore power connection, so that in the future they will not need to run generators for their on-board power supply during their stay at the quay.
Report noise pollution in Zeebrugge
Noise pollution in the Zeebrugge port area can always be reported via ikmeld.be or via the competent supervisor, the environmental department of the city of Bruges. All reports in and around the port area are always jointly investigated and handled by the port authority and the city of Bruges acting in collaboration.
Report noise pollution in Antwerp
All reports relating to the port area are always investigated and dealt with by the Environmental Department and the Harbour Master's Office of the Antwerp Port Authority acting in collaboration. For noise pollution in the Antwerp port area you can create a report.