The Port of Antwerp has released its Q1 report for 2021. Total throughput remained stable at 59,1 million metric tonnes compared with the same period last year. All goods except liquid bulk recorded growth, and it was a strong quarter for breakbulk.
Port of Antwerp says that for the coming period it remains to be seen what the impact will be of the incident in the Suez Canal but they anticipate busy terminals.
The breakbulk segment had its best quarter since Q2 2019. The throughput of iron and steel, the most important goods group in this segment, increased by 18.2% due to a peak in the supply of steel, which can be explained amongst others by the new import quotas that took effect on 01 April. The RoRo throughput remained stable compared to Q1 2020, both in new and used vehicles.
Impact of the Suez Canal Incident
As a result of the incident in the Suez Canal, Port of Antwerp expects higher levels of traffic in the terminals in the coming weeks. Port of Antwerp is keeping its finger on the pulse with the shipping companies and the container terminals to see where space can be created for containers. For example, some terminals have already decided not to allow the arrival of containers for export at the terminal until a few days before they can be loaded. We are also looking at how we can optimise storage capacity inland and make even greater use of inland navigation and rail. It is important to work closely with the entire chain to make the best possible use of the available capacity.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp: “We have faced several disruptions in the global supply chain over the last year: the pandemic, Brexit, the Suez incident … In these challenging times, Port of Antwerp is proving its agility and resilience. The global spread over different shipping areas, the large storage capacity, and the professionalism and efficiency of Antwerp’s port community are the basic ingredients of our success.”
Annick De Ridder, Port Alderman: “Despite the difficult circumstances in which we started 2021, we are able to show that the port is holding its own. This is testament to the resilience of our port and of all the employees who work at the port platform. They are still ensuring that everything keeps running and that the port of Antwerp can continue to play its crucial role in provisioning our country and our economy.”