The Scheldt area is from a socio-economic point of view very important for both Belgium and the Netherlands. Not only shipping (freight transport) and ports play a major role for the economy and job opportunities but also the many businesses located around the ports and along the river. This includes amongst others chemical industry, food and metal industry, and energy production (nuclear power station). In addition, the area has other commercial activities such as fisheries, sand extraction, agriculture and horticulture. Furthermore, leisure and tourism are essential for the local population and economy.
Many activities near the Scheldt are situated in residential and working areas. Hence, various studies monitor the development of societal trends, residential expansion, sustainable development, welfare... in the estuary. Not only accessibility, security and nature are taken into account by the implementation of the Sigma Plan in Flanders but also liveability for local residents and agricultural businesses.