Antwerp's cargo volume falls 3pc YoY in Q1 compared to a record 2018

TOTAL cargo turnover at the port of Antwerp declined by three per cent in the first quarter of 2019

07 May 2019 - 19:00
TOTAL cargo turnover at the port of Antwerp declined by three per cent in the first quarter of 2019. Port authorities said this brought the situation 'back to normal' given that the first quarter of 2018 had registered record high figures by way of comparison.

'As the quarter unfolded, total maritime cargo turnover again showed an upward trend,' the port authority was cited as saying in a report by St Petersburg PortNews. 'This trend is expected to continue in the coming months, also thanks to extra MSC cargo between Antwerp and Northern Europe starting in April.'

Container volumes continue to rise, with March 2019 as the strongest month ever in terms of box traffic, and even outperforming March 2018, the previous best month ever.

Port of Antwerp's container market share (in tonnes) grew to 27.5 per cent in 2018, representing an increase of 0.7 per cent. This enabled the port to post the highest increase in the Hamburg-Le Havre range. Net growth amounted to 650,000 TEU.

'Our container throughput continues to grow despite the weakened economic outlook,' said port authority CEO Jacques Vandermeiren. 'This is good news for Port of Antwerp and consolidates our excellent position as a container cargo hub in the global logistics chain.'

Conventional breakbulk in the first quarter of 2019 did moderately well compared to the exceptional first quarter of 2018, on the back of a build-up of steel stocks in anticipation of US import levies. As a result, iron and steel transshipment remained five per cent below last year's level.

Ro/ro transshipment volume rose 3.2 per cent. In spite of the decrease in the number of rolling stock units, the number of tonnes rose thanks to the average weight per vehicle, especially in the utility vehicle category.

During the first quarter, total dry bulk transshipment fell by 8.8 per cent as a result of the lower throughput of ore (down 22.9 per cent), coal (down 16.5 per cent), scrap (down 10.2 per cent) and fertilisers (down 2.2 per cent). Throughput of sand and gravel rose six per cent. Throughput of fertilisers made a strong recovery in March, with the best month for throughput since February 2011.

Liquid bulk recorded a decrease of 8.6 per cent in the first quarter. After a weak January and February (down 12.4 per cent), March showed a marked recovery, albeit less pronounced for petroleum derivatives, the largest segment within liquid bulk. A mild winter impacted the transshipment of petroleum derivatives. Also, the slowdown in growth of the EU economy had implications for production volumes and energy demand, as did the evolution of crude oil prices.

In the first three months of the year, 3,519 seagoing vessels called at Antwerp, representing a year-on-year decrease of 0.3 per cent. The gross tonnage of these ships dipped by 0.2 per cent to 101,539,585 gross tonnes.

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