Strong Half Year for Antwerp Port
The port of Antwerp handled 104,529,242 tonnes of freight in the first six months of this year, up 6.4% on the same period last year. The strong performance during the half year was mainly due to the impressive growth in container freight (up 9.5% in TEU and 7.4% in tonnage) and in liquid bulk (also up 7.4%). However, the conventional breakbulk volume lagged behind the overall growth.
Containers and breakbulk
The container volume expressed as the number of standard boxes handled (twenty-foot equivalent units) rose by 9.5% during the first six months, to 4,836,243 TEU. Expressed in tonnes it amounted to 57,501,825 tonnes (up 7.4%). The formation of an alliance between several container shipping companies has clearly acted in favour of Antwerp. This made itself felt in particular in trade to and from the Far East, resulting in a sharp growth in the container volume handled in the Deurganck dock (up 28.2%). It is expected that when the MSC shipping company moves its operations from the Delwaide dock to the Deurganck dock the growth in the latter will continue to be strong. Nevertheless the Port Authority underlines the importance of having the first phase of the new container handling capacity below the locks becoming operational by 2021. Lock passage and the capacity behind the locks are no longer viewed as appropriate by companies that operate the very largest container carriers, more and more of which are expected to enter service in the near future.
The ro/ro volume for its part was up by 3.9% to 2,436,890 tonnes, although the number of cars handled fell by 9.6% to 581,458. Conventional breakbulk on the other hand was down by 3.9%. At the end of the first six months the volume handled stood at 4,832,961 tonnes. The iron and steel volume rose slightly, up 1.3% to 3,336,782 tonnes. The decline in the breakbulk segment is due to the fall in the volume of fruit.
The liquid bulk volume rose during the past six months by 7.4% to 32,667,400 tonnes. Handling of oil derivatives did well, up 2.8% to 23,004,129 tonnes, but chemicals were the N° 1 grower, rising by 32% to 7,237,817 tonnes.
The amount of dry bulk handled expanded by 3.2% to 7,090,166 tonnes after the first half year. Handling of sand and gravel did particularly well, rising by 54.2