From the Skies to the Sea: how G4S helps keep holidaymakers safe at Port Zeebrugge

When designing a new screening process for cruise ship passengers at a major European port, G4S was able to draw on its significant airport screening expertise to establish the most effective security solution.

Security officer guarding the Port of Zeebrugge

G4S has provided security services to various port facilities at Zeebrugge for over 30 years. In that time, the scope of work has grown significantly and G4S in Belgium has developed several add-on services over the years.

G4S’s responsibilities at the famous Bruges port include the reception and handling of all incoming traffic and cargo, CCTV and a 24/7 security control room. Most recently, G4S has begun providing assistance with cruise ship arrivals.

Since 2015, G4S has been managing all screening facilities for passengers and staff embarking on cruise ships.

The 20-strong G4S team was initially located in a temporary facility to conduct screening and searches, which is a requirement of the International Ships and Port Facilities (ISPS) code. The service began with four screening lanes, which at peak times is required to screen up to 3,000 passengers waiting to board cruise ships.

Many cruise ships visit Port Zeebrugge on a regular basis, such as the AIDA and MSC cruise ships, which depart from the port weekly for eight months of the year.

Female officer conducting security screening at Port Zeebrugge

In a bid to improve the passenger experience, the port authorities made plans to build a permanent terminal and worked with G4S to design the security elements of the building. This included the handling and screening areas for luggage, as well as secure areas for passengers and staff. G4S Belgium was able to draw on its significant airport screening expertise to establish the most effective security solution. G4S experts designed the set-up of the screening lines and recommended the most appropriate equipment to use, whilst also planning effective procedures and staffing levels.

The Bruges Cruise Terminal officially opened in June 2018 and the team now ensure that, even at peak times, passenger waiting time is less than 10 minutes.

G4S Director of Maritime Services, Guido Fallentheyn, commented, “Working with the port authority on a blank canvas to design the screening process has enabled us to deliver an incredibly efficient and effective security solution.

“We now use four screening lines with L3 x-ray machines and CEIA walk-through metal detectors; which enable the team to handle up to 1,350 passengers per hour. Our service delivery has also expanded as we now conduct random explosive checks with our explosion detection dogs and carry out vehicle checks on the 40+ buses which shuttle passengers to the cruise ships every day.”

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