Belgium’s Port of Antwerp has reiterated the need for extra container capacity following an 8.3% increase in its half year results, handling 5,567,905 teu.
A 14.2% increase in European trade was a key driver in the growth, which itself was influenced by an increase in transhipment, but the port is now nearing its capacity.
Jacques Vandermeiren, Port of Antwerp Authority CEO, said: “During the past period we have well exceeded the optimum utilisation level for the terminals below the locks, which can have a negative impact on efficiency.
“We will therefore continue to emphasise the importance of having additional and commercially useful container capacity below the locks.”
The Flemish government is currently considering different options to increase the port’s capacity, and port alderman Marc Van Peel called for nautical feasibility studies to be taken.
He said: “Everybody stands to gain from a solution that will enable us to achieve the desired sustainable growth for our port. Creating additional commercially useful container capacity below the locks if a first step for us in further development of the port.”
Aside from European growth, trade with North America was up 10.3% in the first half of 2018, although trade with the continent was fairly weak in the first quarter of 2017. Elsewhere traffic with Asia grew by 3%, while a throughput of more than 1m teu in May broke the port’s monthly record.