Annual figures 2019: Port Oostende continues to develop in niche markets
Port Oostende ends 2019 with nice annual figures: increase of the number of incoming vessels, tonnage and employment.
Today more than 300 wind turbines are operational in the Belgian part of the North Sea. Various companies maintain these installations at sea from Oostende. In 2019 Port Oostende registered 4914 entries of Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs) and 138 sailings of Service Operation Vessels (SOVs). This is an increase of 7.6% and 43% respectively compared to 2018.
Meanwhile, the counter of direct employment associated with daily monitoring and maintenance rises to more than 600 people.
In the summer months of 2019, the monopiles and transition pieces for the Northwester 2 wind farm were installed at sea from the Rebo site with the Vole au Vent of Jan De Nul Group. Meanwhile, the commissioning of the Norther and Northwester 2 wind farms was also carried out from Port Oostende. The socket at sea (MOG = modular offshore grid) was built from Port Oostende. In order to get this platform operational, Elia took a permanent place on the Rebo site.
The maintenance campaign for the blades of the Belwind and Northwind turbines started in autumn. MHI Vestas, supplier of the turbines, will deploy the installation vessel Bold Tern for this assignment until the summer of 2020.
A very important move of 2019 was the acquisition of all shares in REBO nv by Port Oostende. The unique assets of the Rebo terminal in combination with a broadening of the activity radius will benefit the further growth of the Blue Economy in our region.
Bulk and Project Cargo
1 589 212 tonnes were handled in Port Oostende in 2019, an increase of 1.7% compared to 2018. The growth took place in all cargo components, ranging from ores over gravel and sand to chemicals, agricultural products and clay products. The boom in the construction industry is partly responsible for this increase; it is thanks to the efforts of our companies that the growth was solidified.
Only the tonnage of wind turbine components has fallen. In 2018, no less than 42 wind turbines were treated from the REBO terminal compared to 23 monopiles of Northwester 2 in 2019. In 2020, this segment will grow again with the arrival of the components for the 58 turbines of the Seamade wind farm.
Cruises & Ferries
In 2019 we welcomed 13 cruises that brought 3782 passengers to Oostende and surroundings. Port Oostende aims at smaller cruise ships from the higher market segment.
As far as a new ferry connection is concerned, we are waiting for clarity in the Brexit story. As long as there is uncertainty about this, it is difficult to get interested parties to invest in it. A new ro-ro line is still possible.
This sector is booming in Port Oostende. In 2019 we welcomed two circular companies: Renasci and West Recycle. Both will build a production unit where waste materials will be processed into end products that can be reused as a base product.
Early 2019 Renasci started the construction of their production facilities in Plassendale 1. The construction is well on schedule and by spring 2020 this company will be fully operational. Supply and removal of materials will take place via the shipping industry. West Recycle concluded a concession with Port Oostende in the autumn of 2019. Preparations are already underway for the construction to be operational in 2020. These investments are accompanied by an expected employment of more than 60 people in a first phase.
This autumn, the Vlaamse Visveiling nv opened its new fish auction building in Port Oostende. 10 million euros were invested, and 55 people are now working in the fish unloading team.
With the announced investments in both the outer and inner port, Port Oostende is convinced that it can create and anchor additional employment and added value in the region of Oostende.
Port Oostende focuses on continuity, growth and employment within five pillars: Blue Economy, Bulk & Project Cargo, Cruises & Ferry, Circular Industry and the Fisheries sector. These sectors are further expanded on the basis of two foundations: prioritizing safety, health and the environment and second supporting innovation and development.