Suez incident: Port of Antwerp anticipates busy terminals where possible

Suez incident: Port of Antwerp anticipates busy terminals where possible

The Suez Canal is open again, but the consequences for global shipping traffic will be felt for a long time to come. Ships will be delayed in their arrival and departure, resulting in busy terminals and peaks in cargo. For Port of Antwerp, the impact is very difficult to estimate; where possible, the container terminals are preparing to handle additional cargo.

“It's going to get busier at the terminals in the port of Antwerp,” says Barbara Janssens. “Starting next week, April 12, our terminals are likely to get busier. The first ships that sailed behind the Ever Given usually first call at Rotterdam and Hamburg and only then arrive at Port of Antwerp. We're assuming 12-14 days after the Suez incident. It isn't easy to estimate the exact impact in terms of traffic at Port of Antwerp. A lot depends on the decisions of shipping companies and terminals, who look at things from a global perspective.”
“The incident is a real puzzle for terminals and shipping companies. The delays come on top of those that have been going on since the end of 2020 – including increased cargo, shortages of container vessels and the Covid situation, which has meant that manpower has had to be re-scheduled – and which are putting a lot of pressure on the terminal capacity,” says Barbara Janssens.

Finger on the pulse

"Port of Antwerp is keeping its finger on the pulse with the shipping companies and the container terminals to see where space can be created for containers. For example, some terminals have already decided that containers for export can only be at the terminal a few days before they can be loaded. We are also looking at how we can optimise capacity inland and make even greater use of inland navigation and rail. It is important to work closely with the entire chain to make the best possible use of the available capacity."
“Fortunately, the container traffic in Antwerp is spread across the various shipping areas and we are not largely dependent on the Far and Middle East,” adds Barbara Janssens. “This means that Port of Antwerp is a little less sensitive to incidents in the supply chain. Our terminal operators are also among the most efficient in the world and we have a large storage capacity. In Covid times, this has also helped us cope with peaks and troughs in supply and demand and ensured that we could continue to supply the country.“

Consumers feel the impact too

The impact on global container shipping is likely to continue for several months, as there is no spare capacity of container ships for extra deployment to make up for these shortages. The impact is being felt today by many retailers and their customers, who are finding that orders for products – like bicycles and other such things – are being delayed.

The impact on the overall transshipment figures for Port of Antwerp is expected to be limited. “We will see more volatility: peaks and troughs in transshipment, but expect that to flatten out again in the overall annual numbers.” Containers have continued to do very well in recent quarters, despite the Covid crisis.


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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
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