Freight volume was up by 3.5% to 190.6 million tonnes which represents an increase of 3.5% compared with 2012 when the volume came to 184.1 million tonnes, making 2013 a new record year for Belgium's principal port.
The previous record dates from 2008, the last year before the global financial crisis. The main driving force behind the growth in volume was liquid bulk, with the container volume being slightly down as a result of the continuing recession.
“Liquid bulk has given our port a particularly strong boost,” declared Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx. “These freight volume results have been achieved thanks to investments by a number of large players over the past few years. They are also the best proof that conversion of former breakbulk areas into tank storage facilities has paid off for our port.
When it comes to containers the stagnating economy continues to weigh on the figures, but this situation applies practically throughout the Hamburg-Le Havre range. In the case of dry bulk there has been a significant decrease in the volume of coal compared to last year. This development is due to the closure of a number of blast furnaces in the hinterland, which will continue to affect the figures for dry bulk.”