The Port of Brussels and citydev.brussels have worked together on developing a sustainable economic port zone on an 8.6 hectare site located between the TIR centre (International Road Transport) and the Tour & Taxis site, along the Avenue du Port. This part of the city is seeing the emergence of a new area dedicated to sustainable transport activities, directly allied to supplying the city and to the Brussels economy. Having subscribed to the European project named LaMiLo (Last Mile Logistics), financed by the European FEDER fund, a pilot project for the creation of a city logistics and distribution platform is being carried out at the TIR centre which could, in time lead to a rationalisation of distribution of goods in Brussels, from the TIR and using non-polluting vehicles.
The aim of the LaMiLo project is to create a step change in freight deliveries by fully considering the ‘last mile’ of a supply chain when planning a freight logistics journey, ensuring more efficient, sustainable and integrated urban logistics.
There is also a plan to use the roofing of newly constructed buildings to develop sustainable production activities of the ‘urban farm’ type – a concept which will enable the potential offered by flat roofs to be used, areas which otherwise remain unoccupied. The development of sustainable production activities of an agricultural nature on the roofs of new buildings will contribute to creating new direct employment, with many jobs being accessible by poorly qualified persons. The creation of urban farms leads to a limited size supply chain which has unquestionable environmental advantage for the city and its inhabitants.
Two phases of development
The developers’ view is that for the development of this port zone, it is vital to avoid an ‘industrial park’ effect, by aiming for optimal urban integration with the neighbouring districts of Tour & Taxis and Laeken, the new mixed eco-district of Tivoli (housing, production activities, company incubator). The developers are taking the exemplary rehabilitation and revitalisation of the Tour & Taxis site itself, as a reference.
In concrete terms, the developments will be divided into two zones:
• a zone of some 5.35 hectares developed and marketed by a partnership of Port of Brussels and citydev.brussels in order to locate urban companies here, and integrate them into the immediate surroundings. The construction of a terminal for palletised goods is planned for the other side of the Avenue du port in the Vergote basin, to enable companies located on the site to use the waterway to transport goods and materials. This terminal will make the current TIR centre and the new complex bi-modal, using both road and waterway transport.
• A 2.6 hectare zone developed by the Port of Brussels in order to install a new generation logistics warehouse, to complement the existing TIR centre. The objective is to strengthen the current TIR centre in order to make it an exemplary hub in terms of sustainable urban distribution.
The canal, a priority and strategic development zone for Brussels
These projects are the precursors for a new orientation in the development of economic zones in the city centre, optimising the limited land available in Brussels, and thus leading to a better return in terms of job creation and making best use of this land. These developments will also lead to better integration of the port into the urban fabric. They will play a driving role in the sustainable development of Brussels-city. The public authorities are very much behind this and the canal zone is receiving a great deal of attention from them because it acts as a veritable spinal column in structuring the Brussels Capital Region from north to south.
The translation of the strategic vision for the developments in the canal zone into a master-plan has been mandated to French planner Alexandre Chemetoff. This master-plan will have to bring together into an overall plan, all of the real estate development projects, both public and private, and particularly those of the Port of Brussels, Tour & Taxis, Docks Bruxsel, Abatan 2020, Port Sud (COOP) and City Docks.