Release of containers at Port of Antwerp will be digitalized

Release of containers at Port of Antwerp will be digitalized

Port of Antwerp is taking the next step in the development of a digitally secured port. "Certified Pick up" a digital, secure and integrated solution for the release of containers, will start from January 1st 2021 and will replace the current system of PIN codes. This new way of working will guarantee a secure, transparent and optimised release process for incoming containers, which will then leave the port by rail, barge or truck.

More secure process 

To pick up a container at a terminal in the port, a unique PIN code is needed nowadays.  The time between providing the PIN code to the shipping company and the driver entering this code at the terminal is considerable. Moreover, the PIN code is seen by various parties which increases the risk of abuse.

To make this process more secure and efficient, a new process for the release of containers, referred to as “Certified Pick up” (CPu), comes into force on January 1st 2021.  CPu is a neutral, central data platform which connects all stakeholders involved in the container import process. 

Digital key

The CPu platform receives and processes container information to generate an encrypted digital key, with which the eventual carrier can pick up the container.  This digital key is only created when the final carrier is known.  The time between the creation of the digital key and the collection of the container is therefore minimal. 

It will also be possible to trace which parties were involved in the collection of the container.  This allows the competent authorities such as customs and police to access the data exchanged and generated in Certified Pick up within the boundaries of their legal powers.

In the longer term, CPu should allow the digital key to be completely eliminated. An identity-based security process with fingerprints or eye scans might be developed. 

More secure, but also more efficient 

CPu has operational benefits for all logistics partners in the port chain. It simplifies administrative processes, allows employees to work more securely and reduces the turnaround time of import containers in the port.  Customs and the police will also be able to operate more efficiently and effectively thanks to CPu.

Port Alderman Annick De Ridder: “As a port, we take our social responsibility with this initiative. I welcome the fact that the port community is helping to further secure the logistics chain. With the digital code system, we are making it much more difficult for the drug mafia to gain access to the containers at the terminals. I really want to thank all involved partners for making this possible.”

In conjunction with logistics parties 

The Port Authority and the port community have an open and constructive dialogue with all involved logistics parties, such as shipping companies, shipping agents, terminals, shippers, freight forwarders, logistics operators, truck companies and inland navigation and rail operators. Together, they will look into how to further shape CPu and implement it in phases. 

Bernard Moyson, Chairman of Alfaport-Voka: “We are pleased that this project focuses on a faster, safer and more efficient release of containers. A collective approach is the only way forward to meet the security challenges. The fact that we have reached a constructive compromise on this initiative proves once again the strength and resilience of the port community in Antwerp. ”
Port of Antwerp CEO Jacques Vandermeiren: “This is a story of co-creation with the aim of marketing the port of Antwerp even better as a high-performance digital port.  We set up a port-wide consultation structure, which monitors the project and adjusts it if necessary."
About Port of Antwerp

As Europe's second-largest port, the Port of Antwerp is a major lifeline for the Belgian economy: more than 300 line services to over 800 destinations ensure global connectivity. The Port of Antwerp annually handles around 231 million tonnes of international maritime freight, and is home to Europe's largest integrated chemical cluster. The Port of Antwerp accounts, directly and indirectly, for a total of around 143.000 jobs and more than €20 billion added value.  

True to its mission 'a home port vital for a sustainable future’, Antwerp Port Authority aims to flexibly respond to a rapidly evolving maritime market, allowing the port to continue playing its role as a leading world port. The emphasis in this respect is on cooperation, adaptability, a strong focus on innovation and digitisation, and on sustainable added value, as well as on responsibility towards society. 

Antwerp Port Authority is a limited liability company of public law, with the City of Antwerp as sole shareholder. It employs over 1.600 people. Port alderman Annick De Ridder is chairman of the Board of Directors and Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the day-to-day management.  

The telephone number +32 492 15 41 39 is only for press inquiries. For other questions you can mail to

Port of Antwerp
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp