The port of Antwerp-Bruges reported a 1.3% increase in overall cargo volumes in the first six months of 2022, but with a drop in container throughput.
Total throughput was 147.2m tonnes in the first half of 2022, up 1.3% on-year.
Container throughput dropped 9.8% on-year in tonnes and 6.3% in teu terms compared with the strong start to 2021.
“With globally disrupted container liner shipping, vessel delays and high volumes of import cargo, the container trade continues to face operational challenges. Moreover, the throughput of containers related to Russia decreased by 39% due to the conflict in Ukraine,” said the port.
Conventional general cargo reported its strongest throughput since 2011, growing by 21.8% on-year as Russian steel is replaced in Europe by imports from elsewhere.
Ro-ro traffic grew 9% driven by growth to the UK and Ireland of 6.8% and 47%, respectively.
The dry bulk segment grew by 17.9%, despite a 15.4% drop in fertiliser throughput due to Russian sanctions. Coal accounted for most of the increase in dry bulk as high gas prices and tensions between Europe and Russia led to increased demand for coal. “While only 933,000 tonnes of coal were handled in 2021, throughput after 6 months in 2022 is already 1.56 million tonnes,” said the port.
Liquid bulk was up 16.3% with growth across gasoline, naphtha and energy gases. Diesel volumes also bucked a falling trend since 2019, growing by 6.8% in the first half of 2022. “With a throughput of 8.4 million tons, the most important growth was for LNG (+55.3%) because, in addition to the transshipment function of the LNG terminal, European countries are now also busy replenishing gas stocks in the run-up to next winter,” said the port.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp-Bruges: “Given the current geopolitical and macroeconomic context, this slight growth is definitely a relief. These figures confirm that we are stronger together as a unified port. The context continues to pose significant challenges, especially in the container segment. Thanks to the merger, we can now offer two complementary platforms as a unified port, significantly strengthening our position in the international logistics chain and as one of the main gateways to Europe.