Another Record Year for Port of Antwerp
With expected growth of 5.1% compared with last year, 2018 looks set to be a record year for the Port of Antwerp for the sixth time in a row.
"In 2019 the Port Authority will keep to the same course, further building a sustainable future for the port. In pursuit of this goal it is concentrating heavily on structural solutions to challenges such as mobility, the energy transition, digitisation and innovation," said a press release from the port authority.
The expected total freight volume in 2018 comes to 235 million tonnes, a new record, with unparalleled growth in all types of cargo. The large expansion in container freight continues, reaching 130 million tonnes (up 5.8%) or 11 million TEU (up 5.5%). Liquid and solid bulk for their part are up by respectively 4.5% (to 76.5 million tonnes) and 5% (to 12.8 million tonnes), while breakbulk has experienced growth of 1.8% (to 15.6 million tonnes).
In 2018 leading international players in the chemical industry including among others Borealis, INEOS, Nippon, Sea-Mol and Oiltanking/AGT brought a huge wave of investment to the port, amounting to more than 2 billion euros. Their choice of Antwerp further confirms the port's attractiveness for chemical companies, as the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe. Indeed it makes Antwerp even more attractive for them.
Port Authority CEO Jacques Vandermeiren declared: "With these excellent growth figures and the recent surge of investment, in 2018 the port has once more confirmed its role as the main engine of the Belgian economy. Now we will continue on the same course as before, towards a sustainable port of the future. But to keep growing in a sustainable way, we together with the whole port community must strain every effort to meet the challenges facing us today. The port of the future must have enough capacity and be accessible, sustainable, smart and secure to remain attractive for investors."
While the new record year and the investment surge together confirm the vitality of the port, they also confirm earlier forecasts that the maximum container capacity will very soon be reached so that additional container handling capacity is urgently needed.
The transition to a circular low-carbon economy is another main objective of the Antwerp Port Authority. Over the next three years the Port Authority will therefore invest no less than 35 million euros in innovative sustainability projects.
The port of the future will also be a smart port, with the emphasis on innovation and digitisation. The Port Authority has therefore assumed a pioneering role in digital transformation, aimed at becoming an open and innovative hub for the introduction of new technologies.