GHENT: July 31, 2019. Turkish logistics company Ekol Logistics and Belgian groupage firm Transuniverse Forwarding are to open a 40-hectare multimodal site at Kluizendok in Ghent, part of North Sea Port (NSP) by the end of 2021.

Transuniverse Forwarding currently operates a cross-dock centre in Ghent for groupage shipments to and from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East that has become too small due to “strong growth” in recent years.

North Sea Port"According to the preliminary plans, the building will be more than 300 metres long and 60 metres wide and will number 140 loading docks/loading platforms. Because it is so big, some of the transhipment there will be automated or robotized," said chairman Frank Adins.

Ekol Logistics and Transuniverse are also building a RoRo terminal for traffic to and from the UK in anticipation of major delays in the Channel Ports as a consequence of a no-deal Brexit.

"This terminal will be operated by a third party. Negotiations are already underway," explained Adins. "The growth opportunities for cargo transhipment between Ghent and the United Kingdom are considerable. Brexit is expected to cause major congestion in the Channel ports. This will create opportunities to organise transport by ship to more northerly ports in the United Kingdom, in conjunction with rail connections to and from the European hinterland," he added.

"North Sea Port is encouraging companies to make increasing use of sustainable modes of transport such as rail and water. We expect that this development will make a significant contribution to that," noted NSP CEO Daan Schalck.

Transuniverse handles around 100 trucks and intermodal containers per week and expects to be able to double the volume within five years using 20 Ekol trains a week from NSP to the European hinterland. The company, which is headquartered in Ghent, specialises in groupage services to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey and Iran.

Pictured: Frank Adins, chairman of Transuniverse Forwarding and Daan Schalck, North Sea Port CEO.