Antwerp has built on a record-breaking 2015 with further growth, handling 53,265,552 tonnes of freight in the first quarter of 2016 – 3.9 percent more than in the same period last year. The container volume in TEU did particularly well with growth of 4.6 percent, while liquid bulk rose to new heights with growth of 10.6 percent.
The Port Authority has expressed its delight with the figures but warned against unbridled optimism in view of the continuing volatility and turbulence in the market.
Containers and breakbulk
The container tonnage rose by 3.2 percent during the first quarter, finishing at 29,143,365 tonnes. This corresponds to a volume of 2,459,847 TEU, up 4.6 percent on the same period last year.
The ro/ro volume for its part remained almost static, up just 0.4 percent to 1,111,278 tonnes. On the other hand the number of cars handled rose by 5.7 percent, to 308,484 units. Conventional breakbulk also registered growth in comparison with last year, thanks among others to the volume of steel handled (up 14.5 percent to 1,806,160 tonnes). At the end of March the total volume of conventional breakbulk stood at 2,373,819 tonnes, an increase of 2.4 percent.
The volume of liquid bulk handled rose by an impressive 10.6 percent during the first three months of this year, to 17,693,219 tonnes. As for oil derivatives, these amounted to 13,178,993 tonnes for the first quarter, representing growth of no less than 17 percent.
The amount of dry bulk handled in the port for its part came to 2,943,871 tonnes, a drop of 17.9 percent compared with the first quarter of 2015. In the meantime the falling demand for coal resulted in a negative first-quarter result in this sector, falling very sharply by 81.1 percent to 69,975 tonnes. The planned conversion of the coal-fired power station in Langerlo (Belgium) weighed heavily on the result, but ports in general where coal is stored are faced with falling imports and declining stocks. The volume of ore handled also fell significantly, down 33.9 percent to 465,796 tonnes, helping to push down the overall result for dry bulk.
A total of 3,535 seagoing ships called at the port of Antwerp during the past three months, an increase of 3.7 percent. The gross tonnage for its part rose by 15.2 percent to 96,557,856 GT.
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