Port of Antwerp freight volume up 1.3% to 238 MT

Dec 24, 2019: The freight volume at Port of Antwerp in 2019 is up 1.3 percent to 238 million tonnes. Despite some segments being under pressure due to economic reasons, the Port is making overall progress, on the sustainability and mobility fronts too. 

In 2019 Port of Antwerp developed further as a major international port. Despite increasing tension in world trade it achieved strong growth this year once more in terms of total freight volume. Container freight in particular gained market share (up from 27.5 percent to 28.2 percent), while the dry bulk segment for its part saw its total volume expand by 3.4 percent. In breakbulk on the other hand, with steel as the main product, the consequences of turbulence in world were clearly felt, resulting in an overall contraction of 13 percent. In the liquid bulk segment too the volume was down, by 4.4 percent, due mainly to the slowdown in economic growth and fluctuations in oil prices.

This year saw Port of Antwerp recieve a record investment of 3 billion euros by INEOS in the Antwerp chemical cluster. In addition, this year also saw work starting on the ECLUSE steam distribution network, ExxonbMobil's Delayed Coker Unit went into operation, and there were other investments by players such as BASF, Borealis and Standic.

"We are using the technology and expertise that we have in the port to smooth the path towards becoming a carbon-neutral port. We are striving for a multi-fuel port where various sustainable fuels are available beside one another. In the near future we'll be experimenting with tugs powered by sustainable methanol hydrogen. Other interesting avenues that we are exploring are Carbon Capture & Utilisation and Carbon Capture & Storage, along with ways of re-using carbon in circular processes. It is our ambition to make the sustainable transition a reality, and Port of Antwerp has a pioneering role to play here," said Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO, Port of Antwerp.

The Port is also making efforts into improving mobility, by more efficient consolidation of freight traffic, further digitisation of the port infrastructure and coordinated management of rail infrastructure.

"A growing port is a port in motion, and we aim to further extend the modal shift in future. Last year 24 million tonnes of freight was carried by rail. That's 7 percent of the total freight volume. We aim to double this to 15 percent by 2030. Pipelines too have an increasingly important role to play," added Vandermeiren.