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Port of Antwerp on track for sixth record year

Staff Writer |
Throughput continues to register growth in the Port of Antwerp.

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After record semi-annual figures, the total throughput after nine months stands at 177,026,550 tonnes – a sharp 6% increase compared with the same period last year. With these results, the port seems to be on track for the sixth record year in a row. The recent wave of investments moreover confirms the port’s appeal and reaffirms its role as a world player.

Maritime throughput continues to grow. Container traffic registered robust growth yet again, up by 7.1% (98,436,773 tonnes) compared with the first nine months of 2017.

In terms of Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), throughput grew by

.8%, to 8,333,523 TEU. All shipping areas registered growth, both imports and exports, with the sole exception of exports to Central America which registered a slight drop.

Throughput for the largest shipping area, Europe, registered the strongest growth: 12.4%.

Throughput for North America grew by 8.2% and for Asia by 2.2%. Imports from China after 8 months stand at the status quo more or less, while exports are 6.7% lower. Owing to the Chinese import ban on old paper and plastic waste, export of full containers to China declined and more empty containers are exported.

After a long period of negative figures, the total breakbulk throughput is showing the first signs of recovery once again and has posted a slightly positive figure.

The total Roll-on-roll-off lading grew by 5.6% to 3,960,845 tonnes. The number of passenger vehicles shipped after nine months grew by 4.1% while the number of lorries and other heavy rolling stock grew by 2.6%.

Whereas the conventional breakbulk cargo still posted a loss of 6.5% after 6 months by comparison with an exceptionally strong first half of the year in 2017, a slight increase was registered in the third quarter.

As a result, the loss on an annual basis was limited to 2.7%. The reason for this is a recovery in iron and steel imports. Steel imports from China registered strong growth in the third quarter, whereas steel imports from Turkey and India dropped further.

The surge in steel imports from China can be explained as a reaction to the European Commission’s quota-based safeguard measures. They were introduced in July to protect the European steel market against a possible flooding as a result of the 25% import tariffs imposed on steel by the United States.

Iron and steel exports grew by 4.9% after 9 months. Iron and steel exports to the U.S. were 8% higher than in the same period the previous year. The total throughput of iron and steel grew by 1.9% after nine months.

Liquid bulk posted strong growth figures, up 5.7% to 57,652,877 tonnes. Imports grew by 9.1%, exports by 0.5% which is a considerable recovery after a drop of 12.2% in the first quarter.

The throughput of crude oil dropped by 7.1%, while that of petroleum derivatives (+6%) and chemicals (+10.1%) spurred the liquid bulk.

The throughput of dry bulk grew by 1% compared with the same period in 2017. This is due in particular to the bigger transhipment of fertilizers (+11.2%), sand and gravel (+23.9%) and coal (+3,3%), because the other traffic (ores, kaolin, cereals and scrap) were volatile in the previous period and are currently posting a drop.

10,901 seagoing vessels (+1.9%) called at the Port of Antwerp in the last 9 months. The gross tonnage of vessels that called at Antwerp rose by 2.3% to 314,200,283 tonnes.


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