In terms of tonnage, the Antwerp container volume in the first quarter of this year grew by 2.9% to 27,000,161 tonnes. In the same period last year the volume was 26,240,633 tonnes. In terms of standard containers (twenty-foot equivalent units) the volume was 2,188,185 TEU. That is 0.7% more than in 2011, when 2,172,323 TEU was handled. The Antwerp container handlers have never before had such a good first quarter. The next quarter also looks very promising, with the arrival of two Far East services: the CKYH NE4 and the CES 2 operated by Evergreen and by China Shipping respectively.
The volume of liquid and dry bulk decreased overall by 8.9%, to 15,667,641 tonnes. Liquid bulk was down by 13.5%, to 10,342,277 tonnes. The decline in imports of crude oil was particularly marked, falling by 91.6% to 105,766 tonnes due to the halting of production at BRC. In the meantime volumes of oil derivatives and chemicals also fell, respectively by 3.1% to 7,580,213 tonnes and by 8.0% to 2,537,357 tonnes. Dry bulk for its part experienced a rise of 1.4%, to 5,325,364 tonnes. In this category there were increases in the volume of coal (up 34.5% to 1,733,028 tonnes) and grain (up 18.7% to 323,955 tonnes), while contractions were suffered by fertilisers (down 19.7 to 1,074,898 tonnes) and ore (down 29.9% to 663,743 tonnes).
In the conventional/breakbulk field 2,529,146 tonnes of freight was handled, a decrease of 13.6% compared with 2011. The drop is mainly due to the lower volume of steel, reflecting the current economic climate. During the first quarter of 2012 a steel volume of 1,552,280 was handled, which is 20.3% less than the 1,947,487 tonnes for the corresponding period in 2011. For the rest there were mixed results for fruit (down 7.0% to 314,999 tonnes), paper and cellulose (up 9.6% to 210,302 tonnes), granite (down 44.1% to 46,151 tonnes) and non-ferrous metals (up 29.2% to 91,531 tonnes). The ro/ro volume for its part is up by 12.3% to 1,125,342 tonnes, with the number of cars handled growing by 14.8% to 289,842.
During the first quarter of 2012 there were 3,629 calls by seagoing ships in the port of Antwerp, down 3.0% on the same period last year. On the other hand the gross tonnage was up by 0.4%, to 77.5 million.