Hinterlands, Port Regionalisation and Extended Gateways: The Case of Belgium and Northern France
Extended gateways are seen by the Flanders Institute for Logistics as one of the solutions to alleviate congestion at major European container ports, especially Antwerp. In short, the idea is to develop, at a series of key locations along the trade corridors between these seaports and their hinterlands, a few logistical centres to and from which containers will be shuttled in large volumes by barge and/or rail transport. These extended gateways are the product of port regionalisation and they should be considered as functional satellites of the said seaports, wherein the latter could even invest directly or indirectly in order to strengthen the links with these technical and logistical bridgeheads in their continental hinterlands. The concept was first applied to Flanders, and then extended to Wallonia (in Northern and Southern Belgium, respectively) associated with the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge. The concept has also been adopted recently by the port of Rotterdam in respect to its Dutch and German hinterland.