Port of Antwerp says container volume increased by 2.2% year-over-year to 104,779,157 tonnes in 2011, equivalent to 8,638,311 TEUs

ANTWERP, Belgium , December 29, 2011 (press release) – The port of Antwerp expects to have handled 186.4 million tonnes of freight this year. This represents an increase of 4.6% compared with 2010, when the volume was 178.2 million tonnes. Furthermore, all-time records have been set this year for containers and liquid bulk, with expected volumes of 104,779,157 and 46,095,431 tonnes respectively.

Antwerp’s container volume was up by 2.2% in 2011, to 104,779,157 tonnes. Expressed in standard containers (twenty-foot equivalent units) the figure was correspondingly higher, up 2% to 8,638,311 TEU. This demonstrates that in comparison with other ports in the Hamburg-Le Havre range relatively few empty containers are respositioned in Antwerp. The ro-ro volume was similarly up, by 13.3% to 4,219,597 tonnes. The number of cars handled in 2011 amounts to 1,056,122, an increase of 14.7%.

Conventional/breakbulk freight also experienced growth: during the past year 12,772,956 tonnes of freight in this category was loaded and unloaded, 14.8% more than the previous year. These growth igures show that the difficult situation in which this segment found itself has partially improved, although a great deal of work remains to be done. The Port Authority is therefore satisfied with the passage in the government agreement that states “the system of dock labour will be modified in consultation with the parties involved (the employers, union organisations, industrial relations mediators and port authorities) in order to modernise it.” “This initiative should reinforce the competitive position of Antwerp, which is still the largest breakbulk port in Europe,” says Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx.

The volume of bulk freight for its part was up 6.3% to 64,585,083 tonnes, thanks mainly to the large increase in liquid bulk which expanded by 12.4% to 46,095,431 tonnes. “These strong growth figures demonstrate the dynamism of the tank storage companies. They also show that the reconversion of the former breakbulk areas in our port into tank storage areas over the past few decades has been beneficial,” says Eddy Bruyninckx. The associated handling activity generates the highest added value after breakbulk.

Dry bulk on the other hand was down by 6.5% to 18,489,652 tonnes, due largely to lower imports of ore and fertilisers.

The number of seagoing ships calling at the port also rose this year: in 2011 there were 15,230 calls, an increase of exactly 3%. The gross tonnage was up by 8.3%, to 314,437,464 million GT. The number of jobs done by the dockworkers during the first 11 months of the year amounted to 1,448,411. This represents an increase of 4% compared with the same period last year.

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