The port of Antwerp handled 54,324,303 tonnes of freight during the first three months of this year, 1.5% more than in the same period last year. The further growth is mainly due to container freight, which was up by 2% in terms of tonnage.
In fact this has been the best first quarter ever, both for total overseas freight and for containers. And on top of all that the previous month was the best for containers that has ever been recorded in the port of Antwerp.
All this means that after the record year of 2016 the port of Antwerp is off to a good start. “The Port Authority is very satisfied with these growth figures,” declared CEO Jacques Vandermeiren.
“Since the first half of last year experienced better performance than the second half, it is important to see the volumes continuing to steadily increase in the container segment. This positive trend confirms the demand for additional container capacity in the Antwerp port area,” he concluded.
The container volume was up 2% during the first quarter, finishing at 29,750,925 tonnes. This corresponds to 2,480,932 TEU, an increase of 0.7%.
Ro/ro for its part experienced remarkable progress, up 5.3% to 1,219,314 tonnes. The number of cars handled was up 2.8% to 316,988. Conventional breakbulk too continued to expand in comparison with the same period last year. At the end of March the volume stood at 2,583,590 tonnes, an increase of 8.3%.
Just as in 2016, this good performance was largely due to the steel volumes handled (up 14.7% to 2,093,071 tonnes). Protectionist measures have not resulted in lower volumes, only a shift in the steel trade from one port to another.
The volume of liquid bulk handled during the first three months experienced a slight decline, down 1.2% to 17,624,478 tonnes. This was mainly due to oil derivatives which fell by 4.2%. On the import side specifically there was a sharp drop as a result of fluctuations in the trading activities.
The volume of dry bulk stood at 3,145,995 tonnes at the end of the quarter, representing impressive growth of 6.7% compared with the same period last year, due mainly to higher imports of ore and coal.
A total of 3,505 seagoing ships called at the port of Antwerp during the first quarter, a drop of 0.8%. On the other hand the gross tonnage of all these ships was up by 3.3% to 99,701,892 GT.