July 22 - The port of Antwerp reports that it handled 95,662,759 tonnes of freight during the first six months of this year, an increase of 2.0 percent in comparison with the same period in 2012.

However, in the conventional breakbulk sector 5,352,352 tonnes of freight was loaded and unloaded, down by 0.4 percent compared with the same period in 2012, and ro-ro volumes were also down by 3.8 percent to 2,317,514 tonnes.

The volume of dry and liquid bulk together rose by 12.1 percent to 36,480,282 tonnes.

Dry bulk volumes contracted by 31.6 percent to 7,231,296 tonnes, mainly due to stocks being run down in various North West European ports. Import volumes are expected to pick up again in the coming months.

Liquid bulk on the other hand was up by 33.1 percent to 29,248,986 tonnes. The volumes of crude oil and oil derivatives in particular sent the figures soaring. The rise is largely due to the new Sea Tank Terminal 510 and Independent Belgian Refinery, which were started up again after Gunvor acquired them and made heavy investments.  But most of the other oil product terminals also noted sharp increases.

Of particular note is the steady stream of ongoing investment by the  Antwerp oil and chemical sector in both tank storage and petrochemical production sites.

Whilst the many planned investments will significantly boost capacity, they will also bring much needed business to companies involved in the lift and shift of the heavy and over-dimensional cargoes that are associated with the developments.