H.Essers and Group Machiels join forces for the development of Port of Limburg

H.Essers and Group Machiels join forces for the development of Port of Limburg

2023 may still seem a long way off, but today it’s all hands on deck at the former Ford sites in Genk. Two Limburg family businesses, Group Machiels and H.Essers, are joining forces there to develop Port of Limburg, a container terminal which will eventually be able to handle a capacity of 350,000 TEU/year. In the long term, some 90 people will be employed at the site.

This capacity is one of the main reasons for the development of the new terminal. Dry Port Genk, at the other side of the Albert Canal, is still responsible for both bulk goods and containers today but has a limited capacity and does not handle hazardous goods. “The investments in a new terminal are necessary to secure economic growth in our region,” says Pascal Vranken, H.Essers CCO. “Port of Limburg, the new inland port, is a sustainable response to the current mobility challenges and forms an excellent link between the port of Antwerp and the Limburg hinterland, but also provides a gateway towards Germany and France. An ideal opportunity to further strengthen Genk’s strategic location and to support the logistics sector in Limburg. By investing in additional facilities for the handling and storage of hazardous goods at the container terminal, we also meet the needs of many of our customers in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. It is an enormous added value to be able to execute this project in close cooperation with Group Machiels, which just like us is a Limburg family business. The partnership also testifies to the decision of anchoring in Limburg that both companies made.”

No ordinary job

For Benjamin Hermans, who officially made the switch from H.Essers to Port of Limburg on 7 September, these are busy times: “Building an inland port is not something you do every day,” says the Business Unit Manager, who will become General Manager of Port of Limburg at the operational start. “I don’t think my work could be any more varied than what I’ll be doing in my new position. I am responsible for the further development of existing container traffic within Dry Port Genk, but I am also responsible for the entire preparation and construction of the physical terminal of Port of Limburg. An investment of around €50 million, which includes the installation of three barge cranes, a cleaning installation, extensive digitisation for monitoring incoming and outgoing containers and a container repair area. There will also be a number of filling installations. As soon as Port of Limburg is active, Dry Port Genk will transfer the container traffic to Port of Limburg. From then on, Dry Port Genk will continue to focus on bulk materials and rail activities. A nice synergy which offers great potential for the future.”

“As Benjamin points out, it indeed involves heavy funding,” Pascal said. “We will therefore examine potential subsidy mechanisms to make this heavy investment possible. In any case, we are very much looking forward to this new milestone, which further reinforces our pioneering role as a synchromodal logistics service provider.”

Do you have any questions about Port of Limburg? Benjamin Hermans (benjamin.hermans@havengenk.be) is happy to answer them for you.