Blocked Buda Bridge Threatens Fuel Supply

Sarhan Basem
Credit: PhotoNews

If the Buda Bridge does not reopen soon, the Brussels supply of petrol and oil will be jeopardized. Reopening the bridge is therefore the main priority for the Port of Brussels. In the course of Monday morning, specialists will decide how the bridge can be reopened.

The Buda Bridge has been out of order since Friday, after a large barge collided head-on with the bridge. Normally, the bridge opens regularly for cargo ships, but this was not possible last weekend. On Monday, the cables will first be disconnected from the bridge. After that, the bridge must be hoisted away. How long that will take is currently unknown.

It is important for the Port of Brussels to quickly reopen the Buda Bridge. It is the only gateway to the Port of Brussels for freight traffic from the north. Building materials and containers full of products such as clothing and food, but also fuel, enter our city via cargo ships. If the bridge does not reopen on Monday, the supply of Brussels will be jeopardized.

Trucks Instead of Ships

The supply of petrol and heating oil will be the first to be squeezed. It concerns oil products that are delivered to filling stations, such as petrol. But also for heating oil, which seventeen percent of the inhabitants of Brussels use to heat their homes. Companies that import these products work with a stock of three days. That says Sylvain De Godefroid of the Port of Brussels.

If that supply runs out, the inhabitants of Brussels will not immediately be without heating. Oil companies will first look for other means of transport. “They soon look at delivery via trucks,” says Godefroid. “But that is – compared to a cargo ship – a much more polluting alternative.”

A dozen ships have also been stranded since Friday evening. The impact could have been even greater, because on average between ten and twenty boats sail through the port every day. There were a lot less between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The canal is – especially for heavy cargo ships – the only way to sail from Antwerp in the direction of Charleroi. That is also a reason to quickly reopen the bridge.

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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.