According to the port, these figures are a “mild reflection of the state of the economy and of the shipping industry”. Antwerp’s performance was also impacted by the temporary shutdown of Belgian Refining Corporation (BRC), which depressed the growth figures for liquid bulk.
Container volumes remained at around the same level as 2011, with 8,629,992 teu (down 0.4%). Expressed in tonnes the drop amounted to 1.1% to 103,965,023 tonnes. In comparison, Ro-Ro volumes rose by 13.6%, to 4,819,539 tonnes. The number of cars handled in 2012 came to 1,233,159, an increase of 14.1%.
On the other hand there was a 14.9% fall in the volume of conventional break-bulk, at 10,804,408 tonnes, mainly due to the fall in the amount of steel handled, which in turn reflected current market conditions. Despite this, Antwerp managed to further reinforce its position as Europe’s leading steel port by winning back various customers from Rotterdam and Flushing, while, at the same time, attracting new customers.
The number of seagoing ships calling at the port totalled 14,593, a decrease of 4.2% compared with 2011. The number of calls by ships of 10,000 teu or more was up, from 141 (2011) to 165 (2012), much of which the port puts down to the deepening of the Scheldt.