The brand new DP World head office at the Deurganck dock was officially inaugurated. A fine example of architecture that offers modern and comfortable facilities for dock workers and office workers and is extremely energy efficient. The self-designed, extremely secure straddle carrier infrastructure at the Antwerp Gateway container terminal, a world first, was demonstrated . “The world is going to come see this.”

Inauguration headquarters

Comfort for port employees

The construction works started in 2019, and in June 2021 dock workers and operational services moved to the first floors. The administrative staff and management moved in September.In the ultramodern building, the dock workers have a larger refectory and comfortable changing rooms with modern sanitary facilities. The offices are more spacious and have ergonomic sit-stand desks.

Thomas Cols of Areal Architecten: 
“The building is a working infrastructure in a unique location amid high-voltage lines, rail bundles, roads and a tunnel. It channels the constant flux of office employees and dockers who leave and arrive continuously, day and night. The shape is inspired by stacked containers and thus forms a powerful beacon in the midst of containers, traffics and cranes.”


Sales manager Lieve Dils of interior supplier BULO:
“We feel that DP World is very proud of its new building. They invested in good building materials. The interior and the building reinforce each other. An office is no longer a place where you come to beat your hours, but a place where you enjoy working and where experience is central.”


The building has a low ecological footprint thanks to:
  • An all-glass facade consisting of high-efficiency glass with a heat-reflecting coating, which makes extensive cooling unnecessary.
  • Concrete core activation in combination with a heat pump. The dense mass of the concrete is used to heat/cool the rooms by allowing warm or cooling water to flow along the core of the concrete floors and ceilings.
  • Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof.
  • A partial green roof that buffers the rainwater.
  • Separation between man and machine

On Friday, attendees also got a demonstration of the straddle carrier infrastructure near the building, a unique, self-designed installation that is unparalleled in the world. “We started the design more than three years ago, after an accident in which a driver became incapacitated for work for almost a year and a half,” says HSSE Director Suzanne Kwanten. Until then, drivers entered via a ladder attached to the machine itself, from which you could fall up to fifteen meters deep.”From now on, drivers can reach a platform via a fixed staircase by which they can enter their cabin effortlessly and safely. “Our project department developed a completely new installation. The designs went through a lot of tests and revisions in collaboration with CEPA, the professional association of dock workers.” “With the plans for the terminal refurbishment and the new main building, we were able to solve three security problems at once,” says Kwanten. “Firstly, the drivers no longer have to climb a ladder. From now on, drivers can inspect the straddle carrier from a raised, secure platform that is well lit with spotlights. They no longer have to perform the inspection on the ground floor. A third safety risk was the road from the changing rooms to the straddle carrier parking, which crossed traffic. With the new building, we completely separated that walkway and placed it over the truck flow. There is no longer interaction between man and vehicle.”

Unique pump and tank installation

DP World also developed a unique, ultra-safe pump and refuel installation, with 6 refueling places, 2 of which serve to clean the straddle carriers and to inflate the tires. The goal was a strict separation between man and machine. “We used to hold a 'tire day', during which the tires of the straddle carriers were inspected and inflated,” says project manager Mathieu Roels. “If a tire explodes when inflating, the steel rim can shoot off with deadly force. In the new installation, we built concrete corridors with round openings and doors that close automatically as soon as the belt is connected. After the technician has left the corridor and the door has been closed, the multi inflaters start inflating the tires. There is also a fixed platform for cleaning the cabins of the straddle carriers, with built-in vacuum cleaners. “In the past, cleaning the outside of the cabins was done by means of a hoist, now the drivers can comfortably walk around their machine from a platform to clean their windows and vacuum clean their cabin," says Roels. But the most important part of a refueling installation is, of course, refueling. The installation can operate six machines simultaneously, at 240 liters of diesel per minute. “In the past, refueling took fifteen minutes, often during the driver's break. Now we can do the job in two minutes,” says Roels. What is special, is that the new system provides an automatic backup if one of the pumps is defective. An innovative dashboard system enables better follow-up and planning of refueling, and the installation includes an accurate measurement system for maintenance, monitoring and error detection. The installation is extremely environmentally safe thanks to a solid protection against leakages and the storage of fuel in double-walled cupped tanks.

An example of safety

With the new installation, refueling is not only more efficient, but also fewer refueling sessions are required than in the past thanks to the sustainable investment program of DP World Antwerp. Since 2018, DP World Antwerp has been gradually replacing its classic straddle carriers with hybrid ones. Not only do these innovative machines emit less CO2, and nitrogen, which means a serious improvement for air quality, they also use only half as much fossil fuels (13 compared to 26 liters of diesel) as traditional machines. Meanwhile, 43 of the 64 straddle carriers at Antwerp Gateway are hybrids.The entire installation was built in just six months in collaboration with Hamer (installation and tanks), Steyaert-Heene (steel structure), Vansteelandt engineering office (design and stability), contractor Viabuild (foundation, bunds and infrastructure) and DSG (power supply and data ). “The installation was designed to be fairly easily adapted to new-generation vehicles at a later date,” says Mathieu Roels. “This design can be perfectly copied anywhere in the world. It's starting to buzz around in the world: 'Hey, you should go and have a look in Antwerp!'”

Annick De Ridder, Alderman of the City of Antwerp responsible for port, urban development and spatial planning and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Port of Antwerp: 
“On the birthday of the unified port, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, DP World also writes history. Not only with the inauguration of a state-of-the-art main building, but also with an outright world first. This innovation benefits the safety of those who keep the economic engine of Flanders running, our port employees. As a partner in sustainability and as a pioneer in innovation, the company is joining the ambitions of the unified port.”


Dirk Van den Bosch, CEO DP World: 
“With the realization of a new head office at the Antwerp Gateway terminal, we are perpetuating our belief in the sustainable long-term anchoring of DP World in the port of Antwerp. The completion of the building with modern facilities for our port employees, including state-of-the-art infrastructure for our straddle carriers, was the first phase of our 200 million euro investment plan. By continuing to focus on automation, we are creating the much-needed extra container capacity at our terminal and densifying the available space as much as possible by 2026.”