Pan-European ferry operator P&O Ferries handled more freight units at its Zeebrugge hub during 2016 than in any year since it began operations from the Belgian port in 1966, due to the “continuing strength of exports to and from Britain”.
The company saw 420,000 freight units at Zeebrugge in 2016, surpassing the previous record of 398,650 units, which was set in 2015.
“Contrary to expectations that the Brexit referendum in June would adversely affect trade, volumes were evenly split between the first and second halves of the year,” P&O Ferries said.
From its Zeebrugge hub, P&O Ferries operates services across the North Sea to Tilbury, Hull and Teesport respectively. The terminal was enlarged by 14 hectares at the end of last year and now comprises four berths and enhanced rail infrastructure. The expansion is expected to give the ferry company the capacity to handle 700,000 units of freight every year at the Belgian terminal.
“This robust performance shows that structural demand from continental exporters to Britain is continuing to increase and that our hub at Zeebrugge is the key gateway to ports along the east coast,” Janette Bell, Managing Director of P&O Ferries, said.
Sailing on eight routes between Britain, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium, P&O Ferries operates 20 vessels which carry more than 10 million passengers, 1.6 million cars and 2.2 million freight units every year.