Impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Permanent monitoring with customers and the competent authorities

Port of Antwerp-Bruges expresses its support and empathy for all the human suffering caused by the conflict in Ukraine. As a world port, the port of Antwerp is regularly confronted with the consequences of geopolitical movements. This conflict has led to a number of European sanctions against Russia. In order to monitor the impact of the crisis in the port as well as beyond, Port of Antwerp-Bruges remains in close contact with customers and the competent authorities.

Update 31 May 2022

For Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Russia was the fourth most important trading partner in 2021, with a throughput of 16.7 million tonnes. This included 4.8 million tonnes of liquid bulk (mainly naphtha, diesel and fuel oil) and 4 million tonnes of LNG.

If a ban is imposed on the import of Russian oil and oil products, this will have an impact on the trade between Russia and Europe, and therefore also on our port. We do not expect a major impact on the total volumes of imported oil and oil products as these can be replaced by volumes from other countries. We already saw this with the ban on the import of Russian steel, which was replaced by volumes from other countries such as South Korea, Turkey and India.

Update 15 April 2022

Based on the rules of the European Union, a roadmap has been drawn up for banning Russian-flagged ships from Belgian ports. This roadmap will be implemented as of Sunday, April 17. The rules were drawn up by the ministers of the North Sea and Foreign Affairs, the maritime police, Defense, Customs, the Department of Mobility and Public Works and DG Shipping.

The Maritime Information Crossroads (MIK) receives a list of the Russian ships coming to a Belgian port and follows that ship closely. The permission given to the ship is only valid for the ship, the Belgian port, the exact timing, and the goods mentioned in the permission.

The port authorities are responsible for the follow-up. For each of the permitted Russian ships arriving in the port, the port authorities must again request the proof of permitted cargo.

Goods that may be delivered to European ports are natural gas, petroleum, coal and other solid fossil fuels, all pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products (such as wheat), fertilizers, and humanitarian aid. These rules will be in effect until August 10, 2022.

Update 5 April 2022

The conflict in Ukraine has led to new European sanctions against Russia, including a ban on Russian and Russian-operated ships from entering EU ports. There is an exception for agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid and energy products. We have not yet been able to fully examine the content of the measure. A meeting with DG Scheepvaart (division of FPS Mobility and Transport) is scheduled next week to further discuss the content and operational impact of this measure. At this stage, the impact in our port seems to be rather limited.

Update 9 March 2022

There is constant monitoring of the situation by Port of Antwerp, which is in close contact with customers and other stakeholders in the port community. By doing so, it emphasises the excellent cooperation between the competent authorities, customs and the various terminals involved.

European measures
The Antwerp Port Authority does not have the authority to pursue an independent policy in response to the conflict. For instance, the Port Authority cannot impose restrictions upon companies or ships. The Port Authority implements the policies of the Belgian and the European authorities.

As such, the export of a large number of goods including those which can be used for both civilian and military purposes ("dual use") is prohibited. Containerised cargo bound for Russia is subject to additional scrutiny by customs. More information can be found here (in Dutch). Furthermore, there is no ban on Russian-flagged or Russian-owned ships for the time being.

Facts & figures
Our port has no major maritime goods flows with Ukraine. Russia, on the other hand, was the fifth most important trade partner in 2021 with a throughput of 11.6 m tons (3.16 m tons of outbound and 8.5 m tons of inbound). This involved the following categories:

  • Containers - 5.3 million tons (mainly plastics, wood, chemicals, automotive spare parts and paper)
  • Liquid bulk - 4.8 million tons (mainly naphtha, diesel and fuel oil)
  • Dry bulk - 700,000 tons (mainly fertilisers and coal)
  • Conventional breakbulk - 650,000 tons (mainly steel imports)

In 2021, 51 unique Russian-flagged vessels entered the port of Antwerp, making a total of 108 calls out of a total of 14,181. These vessels only transported dry bulk, conventional general cargo and to a very limited extent containers.

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About Port of Antwerp-Bruges

With an overall throughput of 271 million tonnes per year, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is a critical hub in worldwide trade and industry. The port is a crucial link for the handling of containers, breakbulk and for the throughput of vehicles. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to 1,400 companies and accommodates the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe. The port provides, directly and indirectly, a total of around 164,000 jobs and generates an added value of 21 billion euros.
The ambition for Port of Antwerp-Bruges is clear - to become the world's first port that reconciles economy, people and climate. As well as growing in a sustainable way, the Port also aims to focus on its unique position as a logistics, maritime and industrial centre and to take the lead in the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy. Together with the port community, customers and other partners, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is actively seeking innovative solutions for a sustainable future. High on the agenda is its responsibility for the environment and the surrounding society. 

The port sites of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are operated by the Antwerp-Bruges Port Authority, a limited liability company of public law with the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges as its shareholders. The port employs 1,800 people. Vice-Mayor of Antwerp Annick De Ridder is President of the Board of Directors, the Mayor of Bruges Dirk De fauw is the Vice-President. Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the port’s day-to-day management.

The telephone number +32 492 15 41 39 is only for press inquiries. For other questions you can mail to

Port of Antwerp-Bruges
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp