October 20 - During the first nine months of this year, the port of Antwerp handled more than 132.19 million tonnes of freight, up 13.2 percent compared with the same period last year, when the volume was almost 117 million tonnes.

These figures bring Antwerp back to the same level as before the recent recession. If the present trend continues, the Port Authority expects to close 2010 with a volume of 175 million tonnes.

The main volume driver was container traffic, up by 19.4 percent in comparison with the same period last year, from64.6 to 77.1 million tonnes. The port passed the level of 6 million teu as a volume of 6.3 million teu was achieved, an increase of 16.9 percent. This brings the container volume back to the level of 2008, the best year ever for the port of Antwerp.

The volume of bulk freight rose by 4.8 percent in the first nine months of 2010, to 44 million tonnes. There was a particularly sharp rise in dry bulk, liquid bulk for its part crept up by half a percent to 29.3 million tonnes, making it one of the most stable segments during the recession.

Conventional/breakbulk freight, including heavy lift and out-of-gauge cargoes, experienced growth of 6.3 percent, with8.4 million tonnes being loaded and unloaded in the period from January to September.