As a concept, Dry Ports compete and complement to traditional maritime ports. Although they are not water based, cargo can be transferred from one mode of transport to another. Ports offer storage facilities and value added services. Dry ports offer these services only to land-based modes of transportation. Typically they comprise a storage facility and a transfer zone between trucks and trains. Very often these dry ports are connected to traditional ports. The Province of Antwerp offers dry ports free of congestion near the port of Antwerp. A premier example of such a terminal is found found at Muizen (Mechelen).
Dry ports are one of the key cornerstones of the Extended Gateway concept applied in Flanders. These ports are able to direct flow of port-bound cargo to inland locations. Dry ports are in fact a premier multimodal access points which are well suited for international transport when located near major railway backbones and highways. The Province of Antwerp has a dry port in Muizen (Mechelen) close to the E19 highway and to the Antwerp-Brussels railway backbone which enhances the accessibility of the port of Antwerp. Traditional land based transport can be extended further when underground transport systems become available. The reach of the Antwerp port area can be extended without affecting any existing infrastructure. The multimodal access point becomes a true “gateway”.