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Port of Antwerp: Growth of the Port (1922)

The Port of Antwerp, on the right hank of the river Scheldt, is situated at 88 Km. (about 54 miles) from the sea; vessels of the greatest tonnage are able to reach the quays, where they can come alongside without lightening. The town covers 2.620.74 Ha.; on 31at of December, 1912, it had a population of 322,275 Inhabitants, including the suburbs, these figures become 3.460 Ha., and 405.000 Inhabitants today.

Among the numerous factories may be mentioned tanneries, malt floors, distilleries, sugar mills, and refineries, flour mills, coffee kitchens, biscuit, preserve, and cigar factories, soap houses, manufactories of candies, linoleum and oils, numerous diamond mills, brick works, cement works, telephone works, manufactories for engines, motor cars, boilers; shipbuilding, coopers’ shops, etc.

The Scheldt, which rises in France, becomes navigable before it reaches the Belgian frontier. Leaving Ghent are the last locks and dams: from that place downwards the river is called "Sea Scheldt” or "Nether Scheldt.” At Rupelmonde the Scheldt grows to be a deep, powerful river, having a width of more than 1,500 feet in front of Antwerp.

Near Doel, i. e., at a distance of more than ten miles from the sea, it gets the character of a bay. At Bath the river divides into two arms; the Eastern Scheldt, closed by the Dutch Government by means of embankments; the Western Scheldt, also known as "the Hont.” which is practically the only estuary. Navigation with Holland takes place by means of the Hansweert canal.

Since 1866 the Belgian Government has not raised any more navigation taxes.

Numerous canals and rivers and an extensive net of railways put Antwerp into connection with every part of Belgium and of central Europe. To these advantages must be added those of a quick and economic manipulation of the goods.

The port is composed of two entirely distinct parts:

  • The river-port, bordered by quay walls with wide quays;
  • Interior port, comprising locked basins, which are divided into marine and barge docks. The quays along the river Scheldt offer a mooring frontage of 5,500 running meters and the docks 16.500 meters; the railways both along the river quays and round the docks, total 156 km.

The immense installations principally comprise  12 maritime docks at the north, accessible by three maritime docks, three barge docks at the North, accessible by one maritime lock, a large landing stage up stream of the river quays, specially fitted for petroleum steamers; a basin with an outlet in the Campire Canal, and intended for interior shipping;

  • 6 dry docks, 550,000 square meters of sheds,
  • several warehouses and storehouses,
  • powerful hydraulic and electrical stations,
  • a shear of 120 tons,
  • two 40-ton cranes,
  • one 52-ton crane,
  • one rolling 30-ton crane,
  • one 10-ton crane, and
  • one 5-ton crane,
  • nearly 400 hydraulic as well aa electric cranes,
  • an apparatus for shipping coals (coaltip) capable of lifting 25-ton trucks,
  • one barge with two movable appliances for the transshipment of ores,
  • 12 elevators for grain,
  • 60 hydraulic of electric working capstans, etc.

In MM4 the maritime installations were completed by two maritime docks and by the prolongation of the maritime canal.

The dock walls at Antwerp with sheds and railways alongside, and anchorage for large steamers, provide a rapid means of transit trade on a modern system. Those walls were the first built on a large scale by means of compressed air.

Source: Shipping: Marine Transportation, Construction, Equipment and Supplies, New York: Shipping Publishing Co, Volume 15, No. 5, March 10, 1922 P.40-41

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