Antwerp port holds up against economic doldrums

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges in the first half of 2023 was able to hold its own in an environment of economic instability, it says in a press release received by Kallanish.

The total throughput of the port was 139 million tonnes of goods in the first six months of this year, a fall of 5.5% compared to the same period last year. While the global economic situation is causing a drop in demand for container transport, other cargo flows show a mixed picture.

Despite the weak economic climate, conventional breakbulk, which includes steel, is holding up quite well, the port states. Throughput volumes are in line with the pre-Covid-19 period, but down 17.2% compared to the same period in 2022. The port emphasises that last year showed exceptionally high throughput rates due to a strong post-Covid-19 recovery.

This year, the slowing economy is accompanied by a decline in demand for steel – the most important cargo group within the conventional breakbulk segment. Steel throughput, both import and export, decreased in total by 18%, to 3.93 million tonnes. Of the total, 2.39m tonnes were incoming shipping, while 1.54m t were exports.

Last year, the ports of Antwerp and Zebrugge merged to become one company. Steel transshipment in the port of Zeebrugge is virtually non-existent, though. All steel traffic takes place in Antwerp.

In the current unstable economic conditions, the port says it is gaining market share in container handling compared to the other ports in the Hamburg – Le Havre range.

Christian Koehl Germany