Port of Antwerp's quarterly figures confirm importance of merger and extra container capacity

Port of Antwerp's quarterly figures confirm importance of merger and extra container capacity

Slight drop of 1.5% compared to 2021

The total throughput of Port of Antwerp amounted to 58.3 million metric tonnes in the first quarter, a drop of 1.5% compared with the same period last year. On the eve of the merger with Port of Zeebrugge, these quarterly figures confirm the importance of responding to the current challenges collectively and further reinforcing the position in the international logistical chain. Furthermore, the drop in the container segment, which is partly the result of capacity problems, underscores the urgency of extra container capacity.

Container segment under pressure due to worldwide congestion
Despite difficult circumstances, the container segment held firm in 2021. In the first quarter of 2022, however, container traffic saw a fall of 11.6% in TEU compared to the same period last year, the second best quarter ever for containers. The disruption to container liner trade, delays and high import call sizes (number of containers unloaded by ships) are posing protracted operational challenges, which are making the operation of the container terminals more difficult. Moreover, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the sanctions imposed also put pressure on the number of containers handled.

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Conventional general cargo: continued growth
​Conventional general cargo
grew by 49.1% compared to the weak first quarter of 2021,. Steel, the major category of goods within this segment, is holding firm on the export side. The sanctions prohibiting the import of steel from Russia and Belarus since mid-March are having only a limited effect on throughput. After all, these flows are being replaced by imports from other countries because the EU has redistributed the import quota for steel from Russia and Belarus across other steel-exporting countries.

RoRo: disruptions due to production of new vehicles
​RoRo
saw slight growth (+2.4%), but there has been a significant fall in tonnage since the strong last quarter of 2021. The problems with the production of new vehicles are still affecting the throughput volumes.

Rise in dry and liquid bulk
After a strong 2021 in which Q1 was one of the best quarters ever, the throughput of fertilisers is dropping (-19,6%), which is due in part to the sanctions in respect of Russia as well as the sharp rise in prices. Thanks to the rise in the throughput of ores, coal and particularly grain, the dry bulk segment grew by 11.1% compared to the same period last year. Liquid bulk is also seeing a rise (+15.3%) compared to the first quarter of 2021, with a growth of 16.6% in petroleum derivatives. The throughput of chemicals remains strong, likewise seeing a growth of 16.6%, despite the challenges owing to high feedstock prices. The doubling of biofuels was notable within this segment.

Figures confirm importance of merger and extra container capacity
The announcement of these quarterly figures comes on the eve of the merger with Port of Zeebrugge. Compared to the first quarter of 2021, all the cargo types are showing growth except for containers. ​

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp: “The protracted challenges in the logistics chain are revealed in the figures. These are the latest figures we at Port of Antwerp are announcing. They confirm that through this merger, we will gain a stronger position for the future. Along with Zeebrugge, we have the ability to further reinforce our position in the international logistics chain, in the current complex geopolitical and macro-economic context.”
Annick De Ridder, Vice-Mayor City of Antwerp & President Port of Antwerp: "The economic urgency for additional container capacity is demonstrated again and more than ever by these declining figures and the congestion problems. Extra container capacity is indispensable to secure our position as a world port. Thanks to the recent positive outcome of the negotiations on the ECA project, we have already taken an extremely important step. The unified port will thus be able to further face international competition and continue to grow sustainably as the engine of the Flemish economy."
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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