The total throughput of Port of Antwerp in 2020 amounted to 231 million metric tonnes of cargo, a fall of 3.1% compared with the previous year. The Breakbulk segment suffered the most as a result of trade tensions and the coronavirus crisis.
According to the port, both coronavirus and the increasing protectionism as a result of global trade tensions had a markedly negative impact on breakbulk goods flows in 2020. This resulted in a 16,3% decrease in total breakbulk throughput at the port compared with 2019.
Steel, the main commodity group in this segment, was hit particularly hard. The car sector also suffered as a result of the coronavirus crisis and total RoRo throughput decreased by 9.4%. Throughput of new vehicles in 2020 fell by 21.5% while that of second-hand vehicles fell by 22.5% compared with the same period last year.
Despite a year dominated by coronavirus, with several difficult months and cancelled sailings, container throughput once again saw higher volumes since July. As a result, the 12 million TEU mark was exceeded for the first time in 2020, equating to growth of 1.3% compared with 2019. Thanks to this record in the container segment, the port held up better than most other ports in the Hamburg-Le Havre range in 2020.
Liquid bulk fell by a total of 4.2%. Crude oil throughput fell by 60% due to reduced refining activities. Meanwhile, the throughput of oil derivatives recovered with a growth of 3.4%, despite an initial reduction in demand due to the coronavirus crisis and the sharp drop in the price of oil. Chemicals also saw a fall in demand, which resulted in a drop of 8.9%.
In 2020, 13,655 seagoing vessels called at Antwerp, representing a 5.1% decrease compared with 2019. The gross tonnage of these vessels fell by 5.2% to 394 million.