The port of Antwerp has achieved a record freight volume for the fifth straight year in a row.
In 2017 the port handled 223,606,610 tonnes of freight, an increase of 4.4% compared with the previous year.
A total of 14,223 seagoing ships called at Antwerp in 2017, a decrease of 1.7% compared with the previous year.
However, the overall gross tonnage of these ships rose by 1.4%, to 406,762,315 GT.
Antwerp's container volume expanded in tonnage by 4.3% — 123 million tonnes, and 4.1% in terms of the number of standard containers to 10,450,897 TEU.
The last quarter of 2017 scored best in relative terms for the year as a whole, with growth of 7% in TEU compared with the last quarter of the previous year.
There were three months in 2017, May, August and October, with a record volume of more than 900,000 TEU.
Port of Antwerp highlights in 2017:
Trading routes also had an overall upturn in results.
North America made the most progress with an increase of 11.6%, Latin America went up by 8.5% and the Far East saw a rise of 7.7%.
The USA performed particularly well as a trading partner for Antwerp with 9.7% overall growth in the volume of laden containers, with container imports being up by as much as 10.4%.
In Europe, Antwerp’s biggest trading partner, the port lost volume — down by 3.6%, partly due to the loss of imports for transshipment.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority, said: “In the coming years too we expect further growth in the container volume, and so in 2018 we will continue to work hard on providing additional container handling capacity in Antwerp.
“Finishing the year with such strong growth figures gives us confidence for the future.
“The port companies too remain firmly convinced of the advantages of Antwerp and the strengths that it has to offer, witness the many investments that we were able to welcome in 2017.
“In 2018 we seek to build further on the momentum of the previous year. This means that we will take the entire world as the scale for our decisions, with maximum facilitation for our customers as the basis.”