The Port of Antwerp-Bruges has experienced a decline of 4.5 per cent in total throughput during the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year.
According to the port, this drop was mainly due to the complex geopolitical and macroeconomic context, which has led to a decline in the container segment and significant shifts in cargo flows.
According to the CEO of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Jacques Vandermeiren, operational challenges at container terminals and congestion have slowly declined since the third quarter of 2022.
Global economic uncertainty and inflation led to a global slowdown in demand for container shipping and the cancellation of sailings, particularly from the Far East.
Additionally, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has caused Russia-related traffic to decrease by two-thirds compared to the same period last year, resulting in a 5.7 per cent drop in container throughput compared to the first quarter of 2022, standing at 3.1 million TEU.
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Roll-on/roll-off traffic is maintaining the status quo, and there has been a resurgence in the new-car segment.
The first quarter of 2023 saw 904,901 new cars shipped in and out, up 7.2 per cent from 2022.
Vandermeiren added that despite the disappointing figures, the outlook for 2023 remains positive. Falling energy prices, an improving Chinese economy, and signs that the liner market is also picking up are reasons to be confident about the future.
Vandermeiren also highlighted the complementarity of the two port platforms, allowing the port to better respond to shifts in cargo flows.
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In March, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges and its partners Dronematrix, Skeydrone, and Proximus were given the green light to launch their drone in a box network D-Hive.
An operational authorisation was granted enabling the port to carry out automated drone flights on a daily basis.