Antwerp port hurts from tensions, recession

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges has not been left unharmed by geopolitical tensions and the slowing economy, which notably reduced throughput of steel and other goods, Kallanish learns from the port operator.

Antwerp is Europe’s leading breakbulk port for steel, which figures as conventional break bulk at ports. Compared to 2022, total throughput of conventional break bulk last year was down 18.8%, totalling around 10 million tonnes. Due to a decline in European steel production and lower demand, handling of steel, which comprises the lion’s share of this category, fell by 16.9%. The port notes that exports held up slightly better than imports, with exports down 15.5% and imports down 17.9%.

The total throughput, including liquid bulk, dry bulk, containers, Ro/Ro goods and containers, was 271mt in 2023, down 5.5% from the previous year. Thanks to the added value of the merger, the market share of the container segment increased compared to the other ports in the Hamburg – Le Havre range, according to the operator.

It notes that sustainable growth remains a priority. Over the next ten years, the port envisages an investment programme worth €2.9 billion ($3.1 billion), including in new infrastructure such as a quay wall for the Europa Terminal, a new coordination centre and residual land on the Left Bank.

This year, the port will see the first bunkering of hydrogen and hydrogen carriers, such as methanol. As part of the greening of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges fleet, two pioneering vessels will be introduced: the Methatug, the world’s first methanol-powered tug, and an electric RSD, a first for Europe.

Christian Koehl Germany