January 19 - A move to modernise the relationship between labour and employers at the port of Antwerp and a cargo dues freeze for 2011, will have direct and positive benefits to heavy lift and project cargo operations at the Belgian breakbulk and heavylif

Under an agreement signed in December, 2010 between unions and the employers' association (CEPA) which came into effect on New Year's day, improvement in rules and subsequently costs of the handling of heavy lift, out-of-gauge cargo and general cargo belonging to the same project were agreed. These also cover the handling of tubes and pipes, mostly for the gas and oil business.

Furthermore, the unions and CEPA are still working on an agreement to work half shifts during weekdays and at other times.

As well as these agreements, the harbour pilots and boatmen's corporation (Brabo) has reduced its tariff as from January 1, 2011, whilst the river and sea pilots tariff remains unchanged until June 30, 2011.

The Antwerp Port Authority also reduced its cargo dues substantially in 2010 for breakbulk vessels discharging and/or loading breakbulk cargo. Since harbour and cargo dues will not be increased in 2011, this reduction remains in place.