The port of Antwerp experienced an excellent first quarter with a freight volume of 58,328,678 tonnes, an increase of 7.1% on the same period last year. The total volume is a result of all freight categories with the exception of conventional breakbulk. The main driver, however, is once again container freight which enjoyed very strong growth of 9.5% compared with the first three months of 2017.
Containers: The container volume rose by 9.5% to 32,580,600 tonnes, or 2,744,226 TEU (up 10.7%). In fact the month of March alone set a new record for container volume with 980,000 TEU. There was growth on all sailing routes, both for imports and for exports. The progress made by European container freight was the most notable, expanding by 14.5%. Container trade with North America for its part was up by 14.7% compared with the same period last year, although the first quarter of 2017 in this sector was rather weak. On Asian routes there was growth of 7%.
Breakbulk: The ro/ro volume expanded by 6.0% to 1,300,086 tonnes, with the number of cars handled rising by 2.3% to 323,901 units. However, conventional breakbulk performed less well compared with the same period last year, falling by 3.1% to 2,512,276 tonnes. Non-ferrous metals, wood, paper & cellulose and fruit were the categories that suffered the largest drop. The volatility of the respective trades and further containerisation both played a role here.
Seagoing ships: A total of 3,531 seagoing ships called at Antwerp during the first quarter, an increase of 0.7%. The gross tonnage for its part rose by 2.0% to 101,728,371 GT.