Specifically, the Port highlighted that volumes had slightly experienced a decrease from the record figures posted in Q1 2018.

Yet, the port expects its throughput to increase again in the months following, mostly as a result of additional MSC cargo volumes moving between Antwerp and Northern Europe from April.

The container market share (in tonnes) of Port of Antwerp rose to 27.5% in 2018, or an increase by 0.7%. Therefore, Port of Antwerp is able to post the highest increase in the Hamburg-Le Havre range.

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Port Authority, commented

Our container troughput continues to grow despite the weakened economic outlook. This is good news for Port of Antwerp and consolidates our excellent position as a container cargo hub in the global logistics chain.

Also, breakbulk was in a good state during Q1, but iron and steel transhipment was 5% down on last year’s level.

Ro-Ro transhipment increased by 3.2%.

Continuing, dry bulk transhipment declined by 8.8% because of the lower throughput of ore -22%, coal -16.5%, scrap -10.2% and fertilisers -2.2%.

The port Authority noted that fertiliser throughput made a strong recovery in March, and this was the best month for this segment since February 2011.

Liquid bulk recorded a decline of 8.6% in the first quarter. After two weaker months (-12.4%), March showed a marked recovery, albeit less pronounced for petroleum derivatives, the largest segment within liquid bulk.

Crude oil and chemical transhipments remained the same in Q1.

During the past three months, 3,519 seagoing vessels, showing a decrease of 0.3%, called at Antwerp. The gross tonnage of these ships decreased by 0.2% to 101,539, 585 GT.

Annnick De Ridder, alderman for the Port, stated

We can look back on a strong first quarter with continued growth in container traffic. These figures confirm the role of Port of Antwerp as one of the main economic pillars of the country and as a major employer.