THE Belgium port of Antwerp is expected to handle a total of 190.6 million tonnes of cargo in 2013, an increase of 3.5 per cent compared with 2012, beating the previous record set in 2008.
The main driving force behind the growth in volume was liquid bulk, with the container volume being slightly down as a result of the continuing recession.
Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx said, "These freight volume results have been achieved thanks to investments by a number of large players over the past few years. They are also the best proof that conversion of former breakbulk areas into tank storage facilities has paid off for our port."
"When it comes to containers the stagnating economy continues to weigh on the figures, but this situation applies practically throughout the Hamburg-Le Havre range."
The total number of containers handled last year was down by 0.7 per cent to 8,572,345 TEU, with 102.2 million tonnes of cargo handled, down 1.7 per cent year on year.
Port authorities, however, said that the prospects are positive thanks to the recent announcement by P3 Alliance members Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM that its ships would call at Antwerp on Far East routes. In the meantime, MSC has decided to concentrate its activities in Antwerp, offering "prospects for significant growth in container handling.'
The volume of liquid bulk handled over the past 12 months rose by 31.9 per cent to 59,709,998 tonnes.
The volume of dry bulk fell by 26.8 per cent year on year to 13,984,279 tonnes, while ro/ro volume declined by 5.0 per cent to 4,557,389 tonnes.
Asian Shipper News