April 15 - The Port of Antwerp handled 51,023,670 tonnes of freight in the first quarter of 2015 - up 5.9 percent year-on-year over the same period of 2014.

Containerised freight and liquid bulk contributed to the strong growth, posting 8.5 percent and 4.7 percent growth increases respectively.

Ro-ro traffic, however, fell by 8.7 percent during the first quarter to 1,081,344 tonnes, with the number of cars handled falling by 6.9 percent to 291,900.

Steel shipments handled at the gateway were practically the same as last year, up just 0.3 percent to 1,566,113 tonnes. Conventional freight volumes slipped 3.5 percent year-on-year to 2,322,921 tonnes.

The Antwerp Port Authority said it was very satisfied with the figures it posted, but it nevertheless guards against over-optimism in view of the continuing turbulence and volatility in the market.