January 06 - By the end of 2008, the port of Antwerp handled around 190 million tonnes of freight, which represents growth of four percent compared with 2007 - the seventh record year in a row.
Whilst conventional/breakbulk freight was down by 15 percent to nearly 17 million tonnes last year, after an exceptional year in 2007, the port authority has seen no reduction in volumes of out-of-gauge, over dimensional and heavy lift cargoes as yet; reporting 60 percent growth in 2008 compared to 2007.
The figures for the first nine months were excellent, and while the last quarter clearly showed the effects of the downturn in the world economy, the port of Antwerp continued to do relatively well.
As a result, Antwerp was able to gain market share within the top three ports in the Hamburg - Le Havre range (the other two being Rotterdam and Hamburg).
The figures show that last year more than one hundred million tonnes of containerised freight was handled for the first time, or 8.6 million teu.
The port authority expects that the general trend over the past three months will continue during the first half of 2009. According to a port authority statement, it will be difficult to equal the second quarter of 2008 druing which freight was diverted to Antwerp as a result of a dock strike in Le Havre06