By Daniel Canty
The port of Antwerp handled a freight volume of 44,689,362 tonnes in the past three months, an increase of 11.8% compared with the first quarter of 2006.
The port of Antwerp handled a freight volume of 44,689,362 tonnes in the past three months, an increase of 11.8% compared with the first quarter of 2006. With a total of 16,487,457 tonnes of freight handled, March proved a record month.
The continuing congestion and the recent strikes in the neighbouring port of Rotterdam led to dozens of ships being diverted to Antwerp accounting for a significant portion of the increase. The container volume handled by the port grew by 18% compared with the first quarter of 2006, rising to 22,707,018 tonnes or 1,955,637 TEU, up 17.4% on the corresponding period last year. Record breaking container traffic in March saw throughput rise by 24.9%.
From January to March 2007 the volume of conventional/breakbulk freight loaded or unloaded in the port was 4,988,944 tonnes. This represents an increase of 13.1% compared with the first three months of 2006.
Steel imports from Asia have nearly doubled in the space of a year as the European economy has ramped up its demand for steel.
At 337,588 tonnes, the volume of fruit remained around the same level as in 2006.
The volume of liquid bulk rose by 12.7%, showing a recovery from a by 10.2% drop last year due to the changed market conditions and the higher oil prices. Over a period of several years there has been a structural increase in the amount of liquid bulk handled at the Port of Antwerp, attributed largely to rising European demand for energy.