By Jite Eriabie
Belgium’s Port of Antwerp ended 2017 with a record freight volume for the fifth straight year in a row.
During the year, the port handled 223.6 million tons of freight, an increase of 4.4% compared with the previous year’s 214.1 million tons.
In 2017, the container volume rose by 4.3% to 123 million tons from 117.9 million tons recorded a year earlier. Further growth in container volume is expected in the coming years as well, according to Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority.
Additionally, the roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) volume rose sharply to 5.1 million tons in 2017 from 4.6 million tons handled in 2016, up by 10.5%.
The volume of liquid bulk topped out in 2017 with growth of 5.7%, rising to 73.1 million tons from 69.2 million tons seen in 2016.
What is more, conventional breakbulk increased by 4.8 percent in 2017 to 10.3 million tons from 9.8 million tons reported a year earlier.
Only dry bulk such as coal and ores lagged behind in the tables, finishing the year with a drop of 3.7% to 12.2 million tons from 12.6 million tons handled in 2016.
“Finishing the year with such strong growth figures gives us confidence for the future. The port companies too remain firmly convinced of the advantages of Antwerp and the strengths that it has to offer, witness the many investments that we were able to welcome in 2017. In 2018 we seek to build further on the momentum of the previous year,” Vandermeiren commented.
A total of 14,223 seagoing ships called at Antwerp in 2017, a decrease of 1.7% compared with the previous year. On the other hand, the overall gross tonnage of these ships rose by 1.4%, to 406.8 million gross tons.
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