There is a growing need for additional container capacity at the port of Antwerp, according to Port Authority CEO Jacques Vandermeiren.
The need has been identified amid rising container volumes at the port, which are likely to resume their growth trend.
Namely, during the first half of the year the port handled 111,385,518 tons of freight, 2.8% more than in the same period last year, the port figures show.
“Container freight once more performed well after a number of exceptional years, with an increase of 2.5% in terms of tonnage and 1.9% in TEU,” the port said announcing the H1 performance. “After the previous record years, these figures inspire further confidence.”
“We have achieved them against a background of already good performance,” Vandermeiren said.
“In 2016 Antwerp was one of the few ports in the Hamburg-Le Havre range to achieve growth figures. If after that we can once more produce a positive report then we have every reason for satisfaction,” he added.
The volume of container freight during the first half of the year stood at 61,288,264 tonnes.
Ro/ro freight for its part experienced a strong growth, up 9.2% to 2,563,466 tonnes. The number of cars handled rose by 5.0% to 651,363 units.
Conventional breakbulk figures for H1 stood at 5,374,692 tonnes, representing 13 % growth.
“We have to look ahead; these volumes also demonstrate the need for additional container capacity in the port of Antwerp. We will do everything necessary to give the port companies the oxygen that they need in order to prosper. Our companies create employment, not only within the port itself but also far beyond. We have to keep supplying this engine of employment in Flanders,” Vandermeiren concluded.
After the first six months the volume of liquid bulk handled stood at 36,043,593 tonnes, up 1.8%. Crude oil and chemicals also did well, up by 34.0% and 1.0% respectively. Oil derivatives on the other hand were at more or less the same level compared with the same period last year, down by just 0.5%. The amount of dry bulk handled during the first two quarters rose by 1.1%.
A total of 7,137 seagoing ships called at Antwerp during the first six months, 1.4% fewer than last year. On the other hand the gross tonnage was up by 3.2%, to 205,259,923 GT, the port said.