Port of Antwerp experiences growth in first half of year

Port of Antwerp experiences growth in first half of year

Throughput with UK rises despite Brexit

July, 9, 2021 - During the first six months of 2021, 120 million tonnes were handled in the Port of Antwerp, an increase of 5% compared with the same period last year and status quo compared to 2019, despite the impact of the ongoing pandemic. Cargo to and from the UK and Ireland also shows positive figures; the expanded shortsea connections in response to Brexit are proving effective.

Growth despite ongoing corona crisis

Containers are the only cargo type that has continuously grown since 2014, up by 4,3% in the first half of the year compared to 2020 and by 3,9% compared to 2019 (in tonnes). Conventional breakbulk grows by 41,2% compared to 2020 and equals the throughput of the first 6 months of 2019. The throughput of iron and steel, the main goods group in this segment, increased by 37,8% due to a peak in the supply of steel. RoRo also did very well in 2021 and increased by 22% compared to the first half of 2020.

Dry bulk handling increased by 7,5% but there are fluctuations because some products, such as fertilisers, are seasonal. Liquid bulk grew slightly by 1,3% compared to 2020 but decreased by 6,1% compared to 2019. In May, the volume of fuels was the highest since October last year, while the handling of chemicals increased by 8,9% compared to 2020. Demand for chemicals is booming globally due to the recovery in industrial production and is exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

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Brexit: growth in a declining market

With an annual cargo flow of around 15 million tonnes, the United Kingdom is the third largest maritime trade partner for the port of Antwerp. The start of Brexit at the beginning of this year therefore created major challenges due to increased administrative complexities and more controls, which resulted in congestion, longer transit times and higher costs. As a result, the flow of goods between the EU and the UK is decreasing. Despite these difficult conditions, however, the port of Antwerp recorded growth in total throughput of 11,1% with the UK and 12,1% with Ireland in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2020.

In preparation for the Brexit, Port of Antwerp has put all its efforts into further expanding short sea connections with the UK and Ireland in order to achieve the modal shift from ferry to container transport. Five years after the ‘Leave’ vote, the port of Antwerp is now connected to 12 British and Irish ports, and we see that Irish importers and exporters are increasingly abandoning the land bridge over the UK and are instead opting for a direct maritime connection.

[email protected] takes important step towards CO2 reduction

The [email protected] consortium is taking important steps forward in the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon port. The feasibility studies have been completed. The consortium is preparing to enter the design phase. The project, an initiative by Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, ExxonMobil, INEOS, TotalEnergies, Fluxys and Port of Antwerp, has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions in the port of Antwerp by half by 2030 by capturing CO2 and using it or storing it permanently.

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp: "We knew that Brexit would have major consequences for the transport of goods between Europe and the UK. By preparing ourselves well and focusing on short sea connections and LoLo cargo, we can convert the challenges into opportunities. The positive half-year figures for cargo to and from the UK and Ireland confirm this. After Brexit, Antwerp wants more than ever to be the gateway between Europe and the UK and Ireland."
Annick De Ridder, Port Alderman: "Despite the difficult circumstances in which we started 2021, we can show that the port is holding its own and is once again even recording growth in container handling. The economic urgency for extra container capacity is clearly demonstrated, more than ever. The figures are a confirmation of the resilience of our port and of the flexibility of all employees who ensure that everything keeps running.”
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About Port of Antwerp-Bruges

With an overall throughput of 289 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. 

www.portofantwerpbruges.com

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

Port of Antwerp-Bruges
Havenhuis
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp
Belgium