BRUSSELS: Port of Antwerp in Belgium increased 4.2 percent more in comparison with 2013. Port of Antwerp had handled around 198.8 million tons of freight by the end of the 2014.
The previous record dates from 2013, when the freight volume came to 190.8 million tones. The record growth was driven by container handling (up 5.6%) and liquid bulk (up 5.4%). The other side of the coin is the contracting volume of labor-intensive break-bulk (down 3.3%) and dry bulk (down 4.9%).
The container trade shows impressive growth, both in tones and in number of boxes. The number of standard containers (twenty-foot equivalent units) rose by 4.5% to 8.96 TEU. This means that Antwerp should pass the 9 million TEU mark next year. In terms of tonnage also, the growth was more than respectable, up 5.6% to 108.1 million tones.
The ro/ro volume, however, was down by 1.2% to 4.51 million tones. The figures are mainly due to a decrease in the number of cars handled. By the end of this year it is expected that 1.2 million cars will have been shipped in and out of the port of Antwerp, 7.8% fewer than in 2013. The lower volume is due among other things to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the unrest in the Middle East and the poor economic situation in Argentina and Brazil, all of which are important markets for second-hand cars.
Conventional break-bulk for its part was down by 3.3% and is expected to total 9.75 million tons for the year as a whole. But despite this decrease, break-bulk is still very important for employment in the port, accounting for some 40% of dock labor.