Port of Antwerp iron and steel activity off 33% in H1, but June rebounds

Throughput of iron and steel at the key Northwest European port of Antwerp had its best month of the year in June but was still down 33.1% for the first six months of 2020, the port said July 8.

“Since mid-2019, global trade issues continue to adversely affect goods flows in the conventional breakbulk sector. This has culminated in an overall 29% decrease for the period January-June compared to 2019, with inbound and outbound flows being affected to the same extent,” the port said in a statement, without providing detailed figures.

Iron and steel is the most important freight group within the breakbulk sector.

Transshipment of coal was up in the first quarter, but came to a standstill in the second quarter, resulting in a 13.1% overall drop in dry bulk transshipment in January-June 2020 compared to the same period last year.

Total throughput at the port fell by 4.9% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019. After a strong first quarter, the port experienced a decline in the transshipment of all goods, with the exception of the container sector.

Despite the impact of the coronavirus crisis on global production and logistics chains and a pandemic-driven drop in demand, the port remained 100% operational.

“Port of Antwerp is a world port that follows the pace of the European and world economy. The impact of the shutdown of the global supply chain due to the coronavirus crisis has been felt from the second quarter onwards and will affect the total throughput of goods this year,” Port of Antwerp CEO Jacques Vandermeiren said.

— Annalisa Villa