Port of Brussels
- The Port of Brussels originated on the Senne River and dates from the city's origin. Once the economic heart of the city, the old port has been supplanted by the modern facility located in the northwestern environs. The completion of the Wille-broeck Canal in 1561 gave Brussels access to the open sea. The canal was deepened between 1829 and 1836. A total of 167 ships docked at the canal's basins in 1870. In 1881, the Société des Installations maritimes de Bruxelles was created to upgrade facilities to accommodate oceangoing vessels. In 1897, the city expended 14 million francs to purchase the land to create the Vergote basin, to lay the avenue du Port, and to build large warehouses and, for freight forwarding, a railway station, the Gare de Tour & Taxis, named for the family that owned three-fourths of the land acquired. Plans were drafted in 1902 to build a wider, deeper canal. World War I delayed the project. The new canal was completed and opened in 1922. The old quays that had serviced the city were filled in.The port is operated by the Port of Brussels Regional Company (Société régionale du Port de Bruxelles/Gewestelijke Vennootschap van de Haven van Brussel), a pararegional entity run by a board of directors under authority of one or more ministers of the Brussels Capital Region. Approximately 18 million tons of merchandise transit through the port annually, employing some 12,000 individuals. The 14 km (9 mi.) of waterways and 12 km (7 mi.) of quays are accessible to ships weighing up to 4,500 tons.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.
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