Belgium’s Port of Antwerp reported that the quarter ended March 31 was its busiest first quarter ever, for both containers and total overseas freight.
The port handled 54.3 million tons of cargo during the first three months of this year, a 1.5% increase compared to the same period last year.
The growth was mainly due to container freight, which stood at 29.8 million tons, up by 2%. This corresponds to 2.5 million TEU, a rise of 0.7%.
What is more, March was the best month for containers in the port’s history, according to the Port of Antwerp.
“Since the first half of last year experienced better performance than the second half, it is important to see the volumes continuing to steadily increase in the container segment. This positive trend confirms the demand for additional container capacity in the Antwerp port area,” Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Port of Antwerp, commented.
Roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) freight also rose by 5.3% to 1.2 million tons. The number of cars handled went up by 2.8% to 316,988 units.
The conventional breakbulk segment continued to expand in comparison with the same period last year. At the end of March, the cargo volume stood at 2.6 million tons, an increase of 8.3%.
However, the volume of liquid bulk handled during the first three months experienced a slight decline and stood at 17.6 million tons, down by 1.2%.
Dry bulk volume totalled 3.1 million tons at the end of the quarter, representing a growth of 6.7% compared with the same period last year.
A total of 3,505 seagoing ships called at the Port of Antwerp from January to March, a drop of 0.8%. On the other hand, the gross tonnage of these ships was 99.7 million tons, up by 3.3%, the port’s data shows.