The Port of Antwerp is booming, seeing record increases in its handling of both freight and containers in recent years.

The Belgian port is enjoying unparalleled growth, reportedly handling an amazing 54,324,303 tonnes of freight in the first quarter of 2017 alone. This represents an increase of 1.5%, against figures from the same time period in 2016.

These increases are mainly down to growth in the handling of containers, which increased 2%. In fact, the port has never before handled so much container freight, and it is now seeing even bigger numbers of containers, following a record-breaking 2016.

Dry bulk, such as coal and iron ore, also witnessed a surge in growth. At the end of the first quarter of 2017, the volume of these dry bulk goods passing through Antwerp stood at slightly more than 3.1 million tonnes. This was an increase of 6.7% over the figures for the previous year.

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Port of Antwerp, said he is naturally very pleased with the growth and pointed out that the second half of last year was even more successful than the first, indicating a distinct trend of continuing growth. He added that the figures show there is an increasing demand for container capacity in the port.

The Port of Antwerp offers a huge variety of cost-efficient facilities for dry bulk goods, which arrive in several different types of industrial packaging.

It’s huge terminals, all of which have tri-modal access, can handle a wide range of dry bulk goods, mainly iron ore and coal, but also other dry products such as cement, fertiliser, China clay and non-ferrous concentrates.

The port’s continuing success can be put down to several different factors, including its central European location. Being at the end of the Scheldt tidal estuary, in the heart of the continent, it is very well placed for onward travel to other European countries.

The port also has excellent accessibility, with world-class transport links by various means, and it has the ability to handle huge volumes of various types of industrial packaging, with vast storage facilities. A leader in its field, the port also has excellent, modern facilities.

Navigable by ships weighing more than 100,000 tonnes, the Scheldt estuary offers enviable transport links. Ships can travel 80km inland, while the docks themselves feature excellent and fast road, river, rail and canal links to the rest of Europe.

Its capacity for handling huge numbers of containers and large capacities of bulk freight means that it is almost unrivalled among European ports.

The port is able to store vast quantities of goods – its storage space extends to an impressive 1.43 million square metres, and both closed and open spaces are available, including a number of warehouses. In addition, when the need arises, this capacity can be quickly extended event further.

Antwerp is known around the world for the high productivity of its container handling, with up to 40 moves per crane per hour. Judging by its recent growth figures, its future seems set to be a certain success.

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