Double record for freight volume

Publication date: 
17 Jan 2017

The port of Antwerp finished 2016 with a double record: during the past year the total freight volume reached 214 million tonnes for the first time ever, representing year-on-year growth of 2.7%, while the container volume rose above 10 million TEU. Here we present the final figures for each type of freight, together with developments in the number and size of ships handled.

Container volume up 4.1%

At 4.1% the growth in container volume is even more pronounced: after 12 months the figure stood at 117,909,533 tonnes of containerised freight. Expressed in terms of standard containers (twenty-foot equivalent units) the total of 10,037,318 TEU has risen above the 10 million TEU mark for the first time in the history of the port. However there were negative figures in 2016 for conventional breakbulk (down 2.0%) and dry bulk (down 9.1%). 

Antwerp attracts large shipping alliances

With these excellent growth figures Antwerp has expanded its market share in the Hamburg-Le Havre range. Over the past few years it has also considerably improved its position in the Far East, at the expense of its competitors Rotterdam and Hamburg. 

The world of the international container shipping companies has undergone a sea-change in recent times. Driven by cost-savings and other considerations of efficiency, the container carriers started to collaborate and to form alliances. In 2017 the shipping world will be dominated by 2M, Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance. This means it is more important than ever for ports to have a secure place in the sailing schedules of these players. So far Antwerp has succeeded extremely well in this.

Containers and breakbulk

The container segment experienced strong growth both in tonnes and in the number of containers. In terms of TEU the number of containers handled last year rose by 4.0%, while in terms of tonnage the figure was slightly higher at 4.1%. The fact that the growth was 0.1% lower than at the end of the previous year was due to the thick mist that blanketed the port during the last days of December and caused delays for some large container carriers. 

The volume of ro/ro cargo for its part was down by 1.8% to 4,568,874 tonnes, with the number of cars handled falling by 2.8% to 1,189,563. Conventional breakbulk experienced a similar drop, down 2.0% to 9,803,718 tonnes at the end of 2016.

Liquid bulk

The liquid bulk volume expanded during the past 12 months by 3.8% to 69,224,501 tonnes. Oil derivatives were up by as much as 7.1%, to 51,310,284 tonnes. In the meantime there was further grown in the amount of chemicals, up 1.1% to 13,592,806 tonnes. However imports and exports of crude oil fell over the course of the year, finishing down 17.4% at 3,977,722 tonnes. 

Dry bulk

The dry bulk volume contracted by 9.1% to 12,550,903 tonnes. The volume of coal handled during the past 12 months came to 1,042,383 tonnes, 34.2% less than the previous year. The ore volume also fell by 10.5%, to 2,115,868 tonnes. 

Seagoing ships

A total of 14,473 seagoing ships called at the port of Antwerp in the course of 2016, 0.4% more in comparison with the previous year. However the gross tonnage was up 9.1% to 401,085,305 GT.