Antwerp Port on track for record volumes

The port of Antwerp handled a freight volume of 148,344,168 tonnes during the first nine months of this year. That’s 3.7% more than the same period last year. Both the container volume and the liquid bulk volume were strongly up, which helps to explain the continuing growth.

If the port stays on trend it will finish this year with a new record freight volume, breaking the last year’s all-time record of 190.8 million tonnes.

The container volume rose during the first nine months by 6.0% to 81,127,972 tonnes, while the liquid bulk volume expanded during the past three quarters by 3.8% to 46,163,344 tonnes.

The dry bulk volume came to 10,235,255 tonnes, a decrease of 6.5% compared with the same period last year. Once again, the amount of coal handled is mainly responsible for the decrease, having contracted by 39.6% or 1,175,659 tonnes during the past nine months.

The number of ships calling at Antwerp during the past nine months was 10,526, a decrease of 2.3%. However the gross tonnage rose further by 1.9% to 251,604,830 GT, thus confirming the trend towards fewer but larger and more heavily laden ships coming to Antwerp.

The port of Antwerp generated direct added value of EUR 9.9 billion (USD 12.5bn) in 2013, according to a flash estimate by the National Bank of Belgium. This puts the port slightly below the level for 2012, down by 1.6%. The direct employment rose in 2013 by 1.0%, to 61,873 full-time equivalents.

At the beginning of this month the Federal Maritime Commission in Washington gave the go-ahead for 2M, the alliance between Maersk and MSC that is due to start operation at the beginning of next year and that has opted resolutely for Antwerp.

The port maintains three calls on the route from the Far East, but in one of the calls Antwerp is the only port in the Benelux with both an import and an export call. On the trans-Atlantic route Antwerp goes from two to three calls.

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