Antwerp Port Freight Volume Up

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 16, 2019

Image: Port of Antwerp

Image: Port of Antwerp

The total freight volume handled by Port of Antwerp rose from January through September 2019 by 1.1% compared with the same period last year. The container volume (in TEU) was up by as much as 6.4%.

However the slowdown in the world economy reduced the growth rate of more volatile trade flows such as conventional break-bulk, liquid bulk and vehicles. On the other hand the volume of dry bulk such as scrap metal, minerals and coal soared by 9.5%, further propelling the overall freight growth for Port of Antwerp.

With growth of 5.7% container freight is by far the largest category in the port of Antwerp. This growth can mainly be seen in the transshipment of containers, but the container volume is also expanding as a result of more imports and exports. All trading regions with the exception of Latin America recorded positive growth.

The recent adjustments to the MSC feeder network, a network of smaller ships that take on freight from larger units in the port for onward transport, were favorable for Antwerp. As of the third quarter, for instance, two new services to Latin America provided additional imports of reefer loads from Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica.

"The uncertainty in world trade has not yet had any impact on our container volume," declared Port of Antwerp CEO Jacques Vandermeiren. "In fact it is continuing to expand, thus further consolidating our world leadership position. As a consequence we are continuing to develop additional freight transport to the hinterland by rail and barge."

Ups and downs in world trade are continuing to have an impact on breakbulk freight flows, resulting in an overall drop of 9%. The conventional breakbulk volume, with steel as the main category, suffered a fall of 12.9%.

The dry bulk volume for its part was up by 9.5% over the space of nine months. During this period five times as much coal was shipped as in the same period last year. The strong increase in the volume of coal was partly due to a temporary shift in transport routes as a result of low water levels in the Rhine.

10,814 seagoing ships called at Antwerp during the past nine months. The gross tonnage of ships berthing in the port was down slightly by 0.8%, at 313 million GT.

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