The annual study of the National Bank of Belgium demonstrates the importance of Flemish ports as the economic engine of Flanders. Zeebrugge has grown into an important maritime crossroads, which has essential consequences for employment, added value and investments.
About 400 companies are active in the port area, which extends to Bruges. Together they realise a direct added value of more than 935 million euros (2014). Indirectly, the port creates another 767 million euros.
The port directly employs 9,365 people. Together with the indirect employees, the port creates 19,570 jobs. The majority of the direct employees live in Bruges, but also in Knokke-Heist and Damme.
On an annual basis the port invests approximately 250 million euros. The port authority is mainly investing in pure infrastructure (especially quay walls and jetties), while the private companies finance the necessary superstructure (cranes, warehouses, rolling stock). The Flemish government is investing in maritime access (locks, dredging works) and the opening up of the port through the road. The federal government guarantees an optimal rail connection through Infrabel.