The port of Antwerp has reported on an increase in its reefer segment for 2020, as demand for healthy food worldwide helped drive growth.
The port handled 1m TEU of reefer containers last year, up 10.5 per cent on 2019. A rise in volumes was seen in both imports and exports.
It meant that the port performed above worldwide average reefer growth in 2020, which fell between 3-4 per cent.
'The volume of reefer containers is steadily making up a larger relative share of the total number of containers handled in Antwerp,' the port noted. 'Eight per cent of all containers handled at the port of Antwerp are reefer containers, compared with 7.3 per cent in 2019.'
Jacques Vandermeiren, port of Antwerp chief executive, said that the port had demonstrated resilience and flexibility during a difficult year.
'This is now translating into positive figures in the reefer segment,' he explained. 'We have noticed that traders in perishables attach great importance to solid service. In order to play a pioneering role in this respect, port of Antwerp is investing heavily in digitalisation.
'The use of real-time data, both with regard to the transport and the products, facilitates the timely detection of bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the supply chain,' he outlined. 'The more we know, the better.”
Marc Vervoort, branch manager for Hamburg Süd Belgium, highlighted the port's hinterland connectivity that linked it with western European markets, as well as its terminal facilities.
“A good example is the Belgian New Fruit Wharf terminal which matches exactly Hamburg Süd’s needs as one of the leading and most reliable reefer carriers for fruits as well as meat and pharmaceuticals,' Vervoort outlined. 'Due to these specialised services for reefer cargos our business has always been handled very efficiently and professionally in Antwerp.'