After two absolute record months, April and May, with more than 1 million TEU, Port of Antwerp closed the second quarter with a strong month in June. Result: a record volume on a quarterly basis. The continued growth in the number of containers and the volume of dry bulk in particular compensated for the decline in other, more market-sensitive sectors such as liquid bulk and breakbulk. This was achieved despite the slow-down in European growth and uncertainty in the market. Greater transhipment continues to drive the Antwerp container business upwards.
Container freight performed strongly in the second quarter with a new record volume which was immediately topped in May. Container peaks in April and May brought the growth rate to +4,9%, thanks mainly to more transhipment to and from all trading regions with the exception of South America. Transhipment trade with the Far East even scored double digit growth of 11.7%.
Better months in May and June were good news for breakbulk handling. After six months the volume stabilised with at a level 1.7% down compared with the end of the first quarter. The conventional breakbulk volume also recovered slightly, with only 3.2% less compared with the first six months of 2018 thanks to slightly better performances in iron and steel exports.
The ro/ro volume for its part expanded by 3.2% in the first quarter and then flattened out with growth of just 0,9%. Meanwhile the volume of new rolling stock was down by 7.9% in the second quarter and 6.3% in the first six months. This evolution is in line with the global trend towards lower vehicle production. On the other hand the volume of second-hand cars rose by 15.5% in the second quarter and 10.1% in the first half year.