Markiezaat Container Terminal is finally coming: H.Essers begins construction in Bergen op Zoom
H.Essers can finally commence the construction of the long-awaited container terminal at the head of Noordland in Bergen op Zoom (NL). The terminal, known until now as the ‘Markiezaat Container Terminal,’ marks not only a milestone in the growth ambitions of the leading logistics brand but also a crucial step towards better and more sustainable logistics throughout the region. With the environmental permit now issued, H.Essers has obtained all necessary permits and is starting the preparatory work. The final dimensions of the terminal are yet to be determined and depend on the approval of the EU subsidy application.
The new terminal is expected to be operational by early 2026, replacing the current inland terminal entirely. It will feature a reinforced quay wall of 325 meters, two container cranes, two reach stackers, and 19,000 solar panels. Additionally, 45,000 square meters of extra warehouse space will be constructed, bringing the total to 210,000 square meters.
With a maximum capacity of 250,000 TEU(1)/year and the strategic location on the Schelde-Rijn canal – beyond the Burgemeester Peterssluis – the new terminal will be ideal as a consolidation hub. Larger inland vessels can be loaded at the terminal, and shipments can be bundled, meeting the needs of nearby seaports Rotterdam and Antwerp, and companies importing and exporting through these ports. The logistics company integrates water transport solutions with warehousing and added-value activities, such as filling activities.
Bergen op Zoom, with its strategic position between the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, direct access to the Schelde-Rijn canal, and the capacity for storage of tank and refrigerated containers, serves as the perfect intermediate station for container transport by water and transportation to the hinterland. The location seamlessly aligns with H.Essers’ existing services, including customs clearance and the current transportation network. With over 200,000 square meters of warehousing – storage for hazardous materials – “in the backyard,” H.Essers can effectively fulfill the strategic growth plans of the company in the Netherlands.
Benefits for the neighborhood
The construction of the new terminal also brings benefits to the region, including improvements in local mobility and the environment. Richard Klaassen, Operations Manager at H.Essers, states: “As a company, we increasingly focus on transport via inland waterways, and this terminal will remove around 260 trucks per day from the road. The improved accessibility of the new offshore terminal from the Schelde-Rijn canal also reduces traffic congestion through the built-up area. Other initiatives, such as battery charging, solar panels, and shore power – allowing diesel generators to remain off during port stays – contribute significantly to the reduction of CO2 and nitrogen.”The terminal and the newly developed warehouse space will also create jobs: 150 directly and indirectly up to 300. There is also good news for the residential areas next to the current terminal.. Klaassen adds: “Although the current terminal is fully within the permit perimeter, we are pleased with what this permit means for the local residents. With all permits in hand, after years of expressing our desire to move, we now finally have the opportunity to actually relocate. The site will receive a new, municipality-determined designation, and the new terminal will no longer be located near residential zones.”
Environmental permit obtained, CEF–subsidy application in progress
H.Essers has had the ambition to build a new, larger, and sustainable terminal at an offshore location for a long time. When acquiring the chemical activities of Meeus Groep, the Belgian family company promised to expedite this work. In the meantime, it secured all necessary permits, except for one: the environmental permit.
“We are incredibly pleased that we now have the environmental permit definitively secured and can start construction. However, regarding our CEF Transport Infrastructure Works subsidy application, we expect news only in June. This EU support is essential, in addition to our own investment of 75 million euros. We, along with the regions of Brabant and Antwerp, eagerly anticipate this terminal, and we are taking responsibility by starting phased construction. We rely on the approval of the CEF subsidy,” says Klaassen.
If the subsidy is not granted, the construction plans cannot proceed in the current form. The consequence would be a significant revision of H.Essers’ plans. The terminal construction would still proceed, but the full potential of the project would only be partially realized. An example of such a significant measure would be that the transition to a fully emission-free port is jeopardized. The subsidy is crucial for realizing the quay, installing shore power combined with solar panels, and placing zero-emission cranes.
Phase 1 involves relocating the current terminal at the head of Noordland in Bergen op Zoom to the new location. The complete move should be completed by early 2026, after which all activities at the current location cease.
Phase 2 includes constructing the quay, shore power, and zero-emission gantry cranes. Solar panels will also be installed to provide all port vehicles with green energy. This phase is crucial, and the CEF subsidy is necessary to realize these plans.
Have questions related to this announcement?
You can contact Bob Van Steenweghen [Bob.VanSteenweghen@essers.com]
(1) TEU = Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit. 1 TEU is a container measuring 6.10 meters (20 feet) in length, 2.44 meters wide, and 2.59 meters high.