Port of Antwerp starts year with slight growth
The port of Antwerp handled 46,997,502 tonnes of freight in the first three months of this year, an increase of 1.4% compared with the same period in 2012. The volume of liquid bulk in particular showed strong growth, with petroleum derivatives being the main driving force.
The amount of liquid and dry bulk together rose by 13.4% to 17,766,141 tonnes. Liquid bulk was up by 37.4% to 14,208,642 tonnes, an absolute record. Handling of crude oil and petroleum derivatives in particular pushed the figures well up. This growth is largely due to previous investments in the port of Antwerp. The volume of dry bulk on the other hand was down by 33.2% to 3,557,499 tonnes. In this sector contraction was suffered in particular by coal (down 69.1% to 535,951 tonnes) and ore (down 12.4% to 581,577 tonnes).
The volume of containers handled in Antwerp declined over the past quarter: in terms of standard containers (twenty-foot equivalent units) it came to 2,126,254 TEU. This is 2.8% less than in 2012 when 2,188,184 TEU was handled, but in that year the first quarter opened particularly strongly. In terms of tonnage the volume fell by 5.7% to 25,463,064 tonnes. In the same period last year the figure was 27,000,161 tonnes.
In the conventional breakbulk sector 2,649,074 tonnes of freight was loaded or unloaded, an increase of 4.4% compared with 2012, thanks to among other things an increase in the volume of steel products (up 6.4% to 1,651,091 tonnes). Gains were also experienced by paper and cellulose (up 23.8% to 260,393 tonnes) and non-ferrous metals (up 26.8% to 116,038 tonnes). The ro/ro volume for its part was down 0.5% to 1,119,223 tonnes. On the other hand the number of cars handled rose by 5.5% to 305,707.
The number of seagoing ships calling at Antwerp during the first quarter of 2013 was 3,587, down 1.2% on the same period last year. However the gross tonnage rose by 3.0% to 79.8 million, showing that larger ships are visiting the port.