Eco-effectiveness goes much further than eco-efficiency. An eco-effective approach not only assumes that a negative footprint and pollution are minimised. It also assumes that a positive footprint is achieved to the greatest extent possible. The concept of eco-effectiveness is simply based on the principle that economic growth and ecological added value go hand in hand. Blue Gate Antwerp is aiming for cleaner air, more renewable energy and greater recovery of materials, but also for more added value and better employment opportunities.
Inland navigation as a mode of transportation is an integral part of the logistics chain. As an environmentally friendly form of transport for goods, inland navigation is significantly less costly in terms of external costs (incidents, noise, traffic congestion, emissions, etc.) than road and rail transport.
In addition, inland navigation is an extremely reliable mode of transportation, which is further enhanced by the track and trace systems that allow vessels and cargo to be monitored continuously. Economics of scale also make inland navigation a more affordable option for the transport of goods, as inland navigation vessels are able to carry much larger cargo loads in one single shipment when compared to road transport.
Inland navigation is also a very safe mode of transportation with few accidents, which further increases the overall appeal of this form of transport.
Moreover, the use of inland waterways is in line with the Flemish Government’s policy on transport and mobility. The Flemish Government recently approved a resolution in favour of providing adequate support for inland navigation in Flanders.
Finally, inland navigation is a modern form of transport that provides many opportunities for the future. Several initiatives and innovative solutions are being developed to make the transportation of pallet loads via inland waterways a reality.
Our transfer facilities are primarily used for goods destined for urban areas and for businesses located at Blue Gate Antwerp. Return streams (waste materials and other streams) also receive priority treatment. However, the fact that Blue Gate Antwerp focuses on those goods does not imply that other goods will be excluded. Blue Gate Antwerp aims to make maximum use of the current transfer facilities available. All streams of goods, whether incoming or outgoing, are eligible to make use of these facilities. Innovative developments in inland navigation will further increase the variety of goods that can be processed by our transfer facilities.
The activities carried out within the field of logistics are fully in line with Blue Gate Antwerp’s global vision on sustainability and quality. It is therefore not our intention to attract the same type of large-scale logistics activities and major cargo volumes as those processed at the Port of Antwerp.
A 14.5-hectare green corridor will be established to form an ecological link to the Hoboken Polder nature reserve. This corridor – which provides a pleasant, ‘green’ work environment – can be used to close off the waterways within the industrial estate. The addition of a recreational bicycle track throughout the green corridor ensures that the site is well integrated within the urban infrastructure.
The land in the estate is severely contaminated due to industrial activities in the past. In certain areas, petroleum activities caused the soil to be particularly contaminated with mineral oils and aromatic compounds. The soil remediation process for the site involves the excavation and clean-up of the contaminated soil. Biological and physicochemical treatment technologies will be used to clean up this soil.
At the site of the former railway line, the soil is contaminated with heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The remediation technique used for this location also involves the excavation and on-site clean-up of contaminated soil. Remediated soil and lightly contaminated soil will then be used as much as possible for elevating the site, depending on the directives issued by OVAM (the Public Waste Agency of Flanders). When the soil remediation process is complete, groundwater concentrations on the site will be re-evaluated frequently at regular intervals. Based on the results and assessments of these periodic inspections, additional measures that may be required for the remediation of the groundwater will be implemented. Any such measures, as well as a full description of the remediation techniques to be used, will be incorporated in the soil remediation project.
The soil remediation process is an integral part of the entire redevelopment project of the site. Although the remediation techniques required are not technically complex, the area to be treated is quite substantial. For this reason, the remediation process is planned for completion in 2016-2017.
The land in the estate is severely contaminated due to industrial activities in the past. Further development of the site will have to be completed in stages.
Initially, a number of old installations and some existing roads in the area will need to be removed. After that, the site will be ready for remediation of the soil. At the same time as when the soil remediation process is carried out, the site will be prepared for construction. The site needs to be elevated because of the current waterlogged condition of the soil. Upon completion of the remediation process and the elevation of the site, it will be ready for construction and redevelopment. The entire redevelopment plan will be carried out in stages, in function of market demand. The remediation project will be started in 2016.
Blue Gate Antwerp comprises three main areas: a logistics area, an area for high-end production, research & development, and a 14.5-hectare green corridor. The minimum lot size will be 5,000 m².
When it comes to high-end production, Blue Gate Antwerp plans to attract innovative businesses that offer great added value. Eco-effectiveness must be their guiding principle, and economic growth and ecological added value must go hand in hand. These businesses will be active in the green or blue economy and must implement the principles on which our future economy will be built. Potential target businesses are innovative and specialise in high-end eco-effective production activities. This means that both their material cycle and energy cycle must be closed cycles.
Blue Gate Antwerp wants to attract businesses that focus on high-end niche production and innovative specialisations. These businesses further distinguish themselves by striving for intensive use of space, cultivating a positive public image when it comes to town planning and public space planning, conducting sustainable and innovative business operations, and mitigating or reducing the negative external impact of their operations, such as the impact on traffic infrastructure, the impact on the environment, and noise and odour pollution.
In addition to production businesses, Blue Gate Antwerp invites research & development centres (R&D) to establish a facility at the site, with priority given to those with a sustainable and innovative character. Blue Gate Antwerp targets itself to R&D centres linked to universities, private and public sector unions, and government bodies, as well as to R&D departments of private production businesses.
Around 1,500 to 2,000 new jobs will be created directly as a result of the economic activity within and around Blue Gate Antwerp. Job positions will become available for highly-skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. The logistics area will mainly require semi-skilled and unskilled workers, whereas the research & development centres will primarily require highly-skilled workers with a university or college degree. The production businesses may have job positions available for both skilled and unskilled workers, depending on their main business activity.
In addition, Blue Gate Antwerp wants to contribute as much as possible to the creation of jobs in the social economy sector, by providing groundskeeping and maintenance positions at the site, for instance.
Blue Gate Antwerp has spent a great deal of attention to mobility in its report on environmental effects (MER). The traffic that will be generated will be calculated on-site to ensure that the road infrastructure for the site is scaled accurately. The impact on surrounding residents is also being examined. The report on environmental effects (MER) includes a proposal to modify a number of intersections at Generaal Armstrongweg, Emiel Vloorstraat and Kolonel Silvertoplaan to absorb the extra traffic. Access to and from the site will be provided via two major access roads – the first one at one end of the site via Generaal Armstrongweg towards the ring road, and the second one at the other end of the site, linked to Herenpolderbrug. From there, traffic will flow towards the ring road and towards the A12 freeway. No trucks will be driving through residential areas.
Blue Gate Antwerp also puts a strong focus on the use of inland waterways to reduce the need for road transport. Furthermore, to try and keep commuter traffic within acceptable limits, bicycle tracks will be added, public transport options will be examined and the number of parking spaces will be limited.