Antwerp’s container traffic slipped 0.5 percent in the first nine months of the year as the Belgian port’s overall throughput declined 2.2 percent from the same period in 2011 on lower dry and liquid shipments and sharply lower breakbulk cargo.
Europe’s third largest box hub after Rotterdam and Hamburg handled 6.518 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the first three quarters compared with 6.549 million TEUs a year ago.
The decline follows 0.7 percent growth in first-half traffic and a first-quarter increase of 0.4 percent to a record 2.2 million TEUs for the opening three months of the year.
The drop in total traffic, to 138.9 million metric tons, was driven by a 3.4 percent decline in liquid and dry bulk shipments to 48.4 million tons. Crude oil was down more than 41 percent at just over 2 million tons, while coal shipments jumped 14.6 percent to 14.7 million tons.
Conventional/breakbulk traffic slumped 15.9 percent to 8.2 million tons, mainly caused by a 21.6 percent drop in steel cargoes to 6.53 million tons.
Roll-on, roll-off traffic surged 18.6 percent to 3.6 million tons, and the number of cars handled was up 18.9 percent at 918,995.