January 20 - The Port of Zeebrugge reported strong growth in breakbulk traffic having handled 1.49 million tonnes of cargo during 2016 - an increase of 27.5 percent year-on-year.

According to the Belgian gateway, the rise in breakbulk volumes was partly due to the heavy modules the port has handled for the Yamal LNG project. 80 modules, with a combined weight of 250,000 tonnes, are being shipped to Zeebrugge from South Korea and China; the modules are temporarily stored at Zeebrugge before being shipped to Russia on ice-class vessels.

Ro-ro cargoes grew by 6.7 percent year-on-year to 14.35 million tonnes.

In total, the port handled 38 million tonnes of freight in 2016 - a decrease of 1.3 percent on 2015. Zeebrugge's loss of deepsea container services from the Far East due to the reshuffling of shipping alliances had a negative effect on volumes - lo-lo container volumes fell by 33.8 percent year-on-year in 2016.

The number of vessels calling at the Port of Zeebrugge rose by 7.3 percent in 2016 to 8,467 ships.