zoom The Belgian Port of Antwerp’s left bank is expected to become the main focus of container handling in Antwerp as the port authority endeavors to reach maximum connectivity for this part of the port.According to the port, the focus will shift from the port area on the right bank of the Scheldt, where about half of the container volume is currently handled, to the left bank once the Swiss shipping company MSC transfers its operations to the Deurganck dock.At the third Intermodal Event this week various players presented their initiatives for further development of trimodal access on the left bank.“As the second-largest port in Europe we owe it to our customers to act as a reliable supply chain partner, ensuring that goods can reach the 600 million customers in our hinterland quickly and efficiently from our port,” Port Authority CEO, Eddy Bruninckx, said.Antwerp reports that 43% of all containers arriving in the port are carried to the hinterland by freight train or barge.“The aim is to increase this proportion to 57% by 2030. With more and more giant container carriers calling at the port, and thus larger volumes arriving at the same moment, rail and barge must play a greater role in moving cargo quickly to the hinterland. At the same time the growing volumes offer opportunities for consolidating consignments and so for developing new intermodal initiatives,” the port said.As part of the intermodal solutions on the left bank, the port of Antwerp aims to maximise rail access on the left bank and develop a more interconnected rail network, as well as to set up an efficient container shuttle operating on a fixed schedule between the terminals on the left and right banks. Furthermore, the port expects that the second lock providing access to the left bank port area become operational at the end of March 2016.In addition to these infrastructure projects, a number of mobility measures such as the extended opening hours for the container terminals – so that transport operators can get in as early as 5.00 a.m. – will contribute to smoother road transport in and around the port of Antwerp.With a predicted growth of almost 8% in containers, the port expects to pass the milestone of 9 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) for the first time in its history. The port is also set to achieve a freight volume of more than 200 million tonnes for the first time ever in 2015.