Port of Antwerp handled 53.26 million tons of cargo in Q1 2016, which represent an increase of 3.9% yoy. The growth was primarily driven by steady compounding volumes of container handling (+4.6%) and liquid cargo (+10.6%). The container turnover of Port of Antwerp in first quarter amounted to 2.46 million TEU, representing a increase of 4.6% yoy. The transshipment of liquid bulk cargo grew by 10.6% to 17.7 million tons, including handling of oil production amounting to 13.2 million tons, or increase of 17.0% yoy. Despite of economy slowdown, such growth will enable Antwerp to continue to expand its market share, since the ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg will likely show slower or altogether negative growth.
Port Authority is naturally very pleased with these excellent growth figures but nevertheless guards against unbridled optimism in view of the continuing volatility and turbulence in the market. Together with the cargo handling growth and significant increase in container turnover, Port of Antwerp reported that March 2016 was the best month ever recorded in terms of freight volume handled.
Last year, Hamburg and Antwerp conceded second place in the ranking of Europe’s largest container ports, but probably this year the competition will be won by Belgium terminals. The European largest container port is Rotterdam, which turnover decreased by 0.5% in 2015 to 12.2 million TEU.