The Harbour Master's Office in Antwerp and Zeebrugge supervises the correct handling of dangerous and polluting goods and compliance with all legal requirements. In this way, we ensure the safety of the port's users and local residents.
What are dangerous goods?
Dangerous and polluting goods refers to the transportation and handling of explosives, ammunition, dangerous goods, and performing special handling operations that pose a risk of fire, explosion, or environmental nuisance.
Examples include the transport and storage of liquid chemicals such as benzene, ammonia and hydrogen or gases such as LNG.
Dangerous goods are:
- goods as defined in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code
- goods as defined in chapter 17 of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk
- goods as defined in chapter 19 of the International Code of the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk
- goods as defined in group B of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code
- goods as defined by ADN (rail), ADR (road transport) or RID (rail)
Polluting goods are:
- grades of oil as defined in Annex I of the Marpol Convention
- harmful liquids as defined in Annex II of the Marpol Convention
- harmful liquids as defined in Annex III of the Marpol Convention
- any other good capable of causing an emission that has or may have direct or indirect harmful effects on human health or the environment
Search handling for dangerous cargo
Are you looking for the compliant and safe handling of a specific substance or dangerous cargo? The port directive contains all regulations relating to the handling of dangerous cargo in Port of Antwerp-Bruges.
Look up what provisions and berth periods apply to the handling of your dangerous cargo. Search via the substance identification number or UN number.
Terminology and definitions
Handling dangerous and polluting goods involves a lot of specific terminology. You can find an overview and definitions here.
You can also submit the declaration via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Specifically for dangerous goods, the International Forwarding and Transport Dangerous Goods Notification (IFTDGN) must be used. More information can be found in Port Instruction 4.2.4.
The part of the port area that is not a front quay.
- The "shipping agent" is essentially the person responsible for a seagoing vessel and carries out the notification and place request.
- The "cargo agent" is responsible for loading and/or unloading dangerous cargo on a seagoing vessel.
- The cargo agent and shipping agent are not necessarily the same firm and are commonly referred to as "agent."
All operations concerning the pre-carriage, on-carriage, loading, unloading, transfer or direct transshipment. For dangerous and polluting goods, this definition also includes "keeping cargo on board a ship." This addition makes the declaration obligation also applicable to dangerous and polluting goods that remain on board ships during their stay in port.
Container Freight Station (CFS)
A container freight station is an open or covered area where dangerous goods can be stored for stuffing or stripping a container, awaiting further transport.
(Approved) container terminal
An approved container terminal is a terminal with specific facilities and measures which is authorised to handle dangerous goods.
List of approved container terminals
A freight forwarder is responsible for pre-carriage and on-carriage by truck, rail or barge. In the context of dangerous goods regulations, this means, for example, that the party responsible for a barge, as declarant, is always assigned the “freight forwarder”.
(Approved) fumigation areas
Container fumigation may only be performed at approved fumigation areas.
List of approved fumigation areas.
Gas expert (in the context of handling highly toxic gases)
A person who, through appropriate training and/or experience, has sufficient knowledge of:
- The chemical and physical properties of the handled gases.
- The dangers of these products to humans and the environment.
- The measures to be taken in the event of incidents with this product.
- Measuring equipment for determining the concentration of (toxic) gases.
The Harbour Master's Office may at any time require the persons acting as gas experts to take a test on the items listed above.
This term is not the same as "approved gas expert or degassing expert." This is a person who checks, using measurements and inspections, whether welding and fire activities can be carried out safely on board ships.
The person who appears on the declaration as duly authorised is in possession of a written document signed by the highest authority at the company (or substitute) authorising the latter to file declarations.
If the person concerned is unable to present written proof of authorisation to the harbour master, action will be taken against the person of the company who is held liable under criminal law.
Main means of transport
When a seagoing vessel is involved in the transport chain, this ship will be the main means of transport. When unloading from a seagoing vessel and discharging by train, the seagoing vessel is the main means of transport.
If the declaration does not relate to a seagoing vessel, but to a barge, the barge will be the main means of transport.
If two equivalent means of transport are involved in the transport, the means of transport that delivers the goods is the main means of transport. When unloading from seagoing vessel A and loading in seagoing vessel B, seagoing vessel A is the main means of transport.
Internal emergency response plan
All non-SEVESO companies where dangerous or polluting goods are received or stored on site or where seagoing vessels or barges carrying dangerous and/or polluting goods may be berthed, must have an internal emergency response plan. This emergency response plan is approved by the Harbour Master's Office.
The emergency response plan helps to establish preventive measures, prepare the company for incidents, and efficiently mitigate and tackle the consequences of such incidents. SEVESO companies already have an emergency response plan and do not need to resubmit it to the Harbour Master's Office.
The flash point is the lowest temperature at which the vapour of a given liquid ignites in contact with a flame and air. For the authorised methods for determining the flash point, reference is made to the IMDG Code - Chapter 2.3.
Direct handling is handling whereby the length of stay of the cargo on the quay is kept as short as possible. This handling never lasts longer than 8 hours. In certain cases, the harbour master will impose a shorter period than 8 hours.
The handling whereby cargo from one ship is unloaded and reloaded on another vessel at the same concession, without intermediate handling. Also known as 'transshipment'.
The technical name is the "correct technical name" as referred to in "Regulation 4" of the IMO Solas Convention. For packaged goods this technical name can be found in the IMDG Code, for bulk cargo in the IBC or IGC Code.
Only short-term storage is allowed on front quays and at approved Container Freight Stations. This means that cargo can only be left here when there are delays in the transport chain. As such, the Harbour Master's Office imposes maximum storage periods for packaged dangerous goods.
You can find these maximum periods in the Codex or the UN Code Finder. If you exceed the maximum storage period, then the goods must be moved to a warehouse that is licensed for long-term storage of that type of dangerous goods.
The harbour master can grant an "extended stay" if the maximum authorised storage period cannot be respected. This is a maximum of 30 calendar days.
Health, Safety and Environmental plan (HSE plan)
The Harbour Master's Office authorises activities which are necessary to safely continue the transport of dangerous goods following leakage or damage (repair, packaging, pumping over, etc.). This authorisation is based on an HSE plan.
In this plan, the company provides the necessary guarantees that they will apply during the execution of the works:
- Safety at the terminal.
- The health of the people performing the works and those present in the vicinity.
- Prevention of environmental pollution due to the release of dangerous or polluting goods.
In the event of incidents involving dangerous goods, the port user must notify the emergency services immediately. The terminal manager must cordon off the hazardous area and take all necessary measures to contain the danger and notify the Harbour Master's Office.
The operating zone intended for short-term storage adjacent to the quay wall and which is given a concession or long lease by the sea port manager, or which is at the disposal of the operator, for the purpose of handling transit goods only and to which the Port Regulations are applicable.
All persons involved in the transportation of dangerous goods must receive training on the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code) and port regulations or port by-laws. The certificates of these mandatory training courses are valid for five years. To renew this certificate, you follow a refresher course at an approved training centre. If your certificate has expired, you must follow the basic training again.
If you want to follow the Port Regulations Dangerous Goods course, you must first be in possession of a valid certificate from the Introduction to the IMDG Code course.
All types of dangerous goods
Do you need a certificate to act as an agent or contact person in the declaration for handling all types of dangerous goods (packaged and bulk)? Then you follow a course that consists of two mandatory components:
- introduction to the IMDG Code
- port regulations for hazardous goods
Specifically for dangerous and/or polluting goods in bulk
Shipping agents who only handle dangerous goods in bulk only need to take the module Port Regulation Dangerous Goods. Persons obtaining this certificate are only authorised to file declarations for handling dangerous goods in bulk. You do not need to present a valid IMDG certificate to gain admission to this course.