Apr 18, 2017: The port of Antwerp handled 54,324,303 tonnes of freight during the first three months of 2017, a growth of 1.5 percent year on year. The further growth is mainly due to container freight, which was up by 2 percent in terms of tonnage.

Jacques Vermeiren, CEO, said, "The Port Authority is very satisfied with these growth figures. Since the first half of last year experienced better performance than the second half, it is important to see the volumes continuing to steadily increase in the container segment. This positive trend confirms the demand for additional container capacity in the Antwerp port area."

The container volume was up by 2 percent during the first quarter, finishing at 29,750,925 tonnes. This corresponds to 2,480,932 TEU, an increase of 0.7 percent.

Ro-Ro for its part experienced remarkable progress, up 5.3 percent to 1,219,314 tonnes. The number of cars handled was up 2.8 percent to 316,988. Conventional breakbulk too continued to expand in comparison with the same period last year. At the end of March, the volume stood at 2,583,590 tonnes, an increase of 8.3 percent. Just as in 2016, this good performance was largely due to the steel volumes handled. Protectionist measures have not resulted in lower volumes, only a shift in the steel trade from one port to another.

The volume of liquid bulk handled during the first three months experienced a slight decline, down 1.2 percent to 17,624,478 tonnes. This was mainly due to oil derivatives which fell by 4.2 percent. On the import side specifically, there was a sharp drop as a result of fluctuations in the trading activities.

The volume of dry bulk stood at 3,145,995 tonnes at the end of the quarter, representing impressive growth of 6.7 percent compared with the same period last year, due mainly to higher imports of ore and coal.

A total of 3,505 seagoing ships called at the port of Antwerp during the first quarter, a drop of 0.8 percent. On the other hand, the gross tonnage of all these ships was up by 3.3 percent to 99,701,892 gross tonnage.