Two OEMs and a tyre maker are moving business to the Port of Zeebrugge to support growth in Europe.
One of India's most successful carmakers, Maruti-Suzuki, will begin imports to the UK via the Port of Zeebrugge at the beginning of December, supported by International Car Operators (ICO), a terminal operator which is also a subsidiary of NYK.
The new vehicles, likely to be A-star hatchbacks, will be shipped from the Port of Mundra before the original deadline of January 2009. ICO will expand its operation at the Bastogne quay in Zeebrugge from 56 to 76 hectares to support the new business.
Mazda is also switching to Zeebrugge from the Port of Rotterdam for imports to the UK and Ireland from April 2009. Rotterdam is due to stop its feeder service from Spring 2009. Up to 60,000 cars will now move through ICO’s terminal where they will receive a range of services including pre-delivery inspection.
Delivery from there to the UK will be handled by Cobelfret Ferries and those going to Ireland will be delivered by UECC.
The Mazdas are being shipped deep-sea from Japan to Zeebrugge. It joins fellow Japanese carmaker, Toyota, which also uses Zeebrugge as a short-sea hub for the European market from its own terminal at the port. Last year ICO handled 1.3 million new cars in Zeebrugge, which is the world's largest carport, handling 2.21 million units last year. 
The port is also getting more business from Bridgestone tyres, which is expanding its existing logistics facility there at the inner port in two stages at a cost of €14m ($17.6m). The first stage, to be completed within the next year and amounting to roughly half the investment, will see an extra 18,000m2 added to the warehouse complex. In the second phase Bridgestone will invest the same amount again in another 20,000m2 logistics space on a 3.8 hectare parcel of land.
The company said that the plan could be finalised by the third quarter of 2009. It currently stores 1.1 million tyres and employs 140 people. The added capacity will mean an extra 40 positions once fully operational.