The container volume rose by 8.2% to 66,298,043 tonnes. In TEU this is an increase to 5,567,905 TEU (up 8.3%). Growth was also noted on all trade routes, both on the import and on the export side. Trade with Europe experienced the strongest growth, up 14.2%, thanks in part to Antwerp winning back transhipment freight. Trade with North America increased by 10.3%, while on the Asian market there was growth of 3%.
In addition, cars shipped through Antwerp grew by 1.4%. Together with the 6.5% rise in the number of utility vehicles this resulted in a 5.2% growth in the total ro/ro volume.
Conventional breakbulk started well but then declined, due to lower imports of iron and steel. Compared with the same period last year the total volume fell by 6.5% to 5,045,235 tonnes.
The drop of 8.5% in iron and steel imports in the first six months of 2018 is mainly due to the anti-dumping measures imposed on Chinese steel by the EU. Imports of steel from India too were well below the level of the same period last year.
Steel exports on the other hand increased 7.2%. In comparison with the same period in 2017 there was a growth in steel exports to the US in an effort to beat the American import tariffs which came into force in June.
Liquid bulk also grew 6.1%, to 38,296,955 tonnes. The main beneficiaries were chemicals (up 8.2%), but oil derivatives also did well (up 6.4%) despite a 3.6% in exports .
Dry bulk was up by 3.1% compared with the same period in 2017, because of the larger volume of fertilisers (up 14.4%) and sand and gravel (up 57%)
Finally, 7,210 seagoing ships called at the port of Antwerp during the past six months, up 1% on the same period last year. The gross tonnage of the ships arriving in port rose by 0.3%, taking the total to 207,963,909 GT.