By promoting transport by waterway - the least polluting mode of transport - the port of Brussels also helps to avoid some 600,000 road vehicles each year congesting the conurbation of Brussels.
Without the port as a waterway/road/rail transport 'interface', the city would have to absorb an additional 2,000 trucks and lorries daily.
The port of Brussels does its part every day too to promote modal waterway-to-rail transfer, yet another of its contributions to environmental protection and sustainability.
A substantial savings in external costs
According to one study based on the volume of goods loaded and unloaded in 2007, the existence of the port of Brussels made for a saving of 11.5 million euros, excluding congestion-related costs. Taking account of present-day figures for 'moderate' levels of road congestion, this represents a further saving of 27.5 million euros in external costs.
Future prospects were also analyzed in this study on the basis of current factors and the strategic options and projects set out in the "Master Plan Horizon 2015" for the port of Brussels.
Forward projections for own traffic, i.e. excluding transit flows, of 5,716 million tonnes in 2015, factor the potential savings in external costs due to use of the waterway at 15.1 million euros (excluding congestion) and 36.1 million euros (including congestion).
If road traffic congestion in Brussels were to worsen in the interim, these savings would ultimately amount to 81.6 million euros.
A significant reduction in CO2 emissions
Estimates have, moreover, also been made for the CO2 emissions of river/canal and road transport. These show that the existence of the waterway and port of Brussels currently account for a reduction in CO2 emissions (for own traffic alone) of between 32,590 and 51,545 tonnes according to the scenario used, and of between 67,942 to 108,683 tonnes of CO2 if canal transit traffic is also taken into consideration.