First-quarter cargo throughput increased 2.4 per cent despite the weak economic climate

Hafen Antwerpen-Brügge

Image: Port of Antwerp

Total cargo throughput at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges came to 70.4m tonnes in the first quarter of 2024, a rise of 2.4 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The increase, achieved despite what the port called ”an ongoing complex geopolitical and macroeconomic context”, underscored the port’s resilience, it said.

Container throughput picked up from February, with March witnessing the best monthly throughput since March 2021.

This resulted in a rise in total container throughput of 8.6 per cent in tonnes and 6 per cent in TEUs (3.29m TEUs) on the first quarter of 2023.

“The fact that, as a world port, we are caught up in continuing challenges was once again highlighted in the last quarter,” said Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

”The Red Sea unrest obliged container shipping companies, for security reasons, to divert their routes via the Cape of Good Hope on East-West routes, resulting in disruptions to logistics chains and irregular arrivals of container ships,” he continued.

”This meant that all parties involved had to adapt, but diverted routes soon became the ‘new normal’. The fact that we can once again achieve growth despite everything proves our resilience in unpredictable times.”

Annick De Ridder, chair of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, noted that the rise in quarterly figures proved that it was a resilient world port that also continued to innovate and invest despite a challenging context.

”Port of Antwerp-Bruges is clearly an ambitious, pioneering port,” De Ridder said. ”As the economic engine of Flanders, we and our companies are 100 per cent focused on sustainable growth.

”During the most recent quarter, this was demonstrated, among other things, by the first methanol bunkering of a sea-going vessel, setting a new record with the largest container volume handled on a single vessel, and the announcement of new initiatives at our innovation hub NextGen Demo.”