North Sea Port sees drop in cargo due to war and energy crisis

Geopolitical conflicts have far-reaching effects, as evidenced by the 2023 figures from the North Sea Port. The ​ Belgian-Dutch port saw an 11 per cent drop in goods transhipments in 2023 due to the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis.

North Sea Port recorded 65.9 million tonnes handled by sea and 61.5 million tonnes by inland waterways in 2023. This is 127.4 million tonnes compared to 138.1 million tonnes in 2022, a decrease of 10.7 million tonnes. 2022 was a record year for the Belgian-Dutch port, which had recovered well from previous shocks.

"After Brexit and the Covid-19 crisis, transhipment [the transfer of goods or products from one mode of transport to another] was able to recover more than usual," said port CEO Daan Schalck. "Unfortunately, this is not the case with the current crises." Last week, the port of Antwerp-Bruges reported a 5.5 per cent drop in seaborne goods handling for the same reasons.

Raw material stocks

Many industries had built up stocks of certain raw materials in anticipation of trade sanctions against Russia. As a result, Russia has fallen off the list of top trading partners, with 42 per cent of trade eliminated in 2023.

The US was the North Sea Port's leading trading partner in 2023, accounting for 5.4 million tonnes of goods. This is 13 per cent less than in 2022. The UK was second with 4.7 million tonnes, followed by Brazil, Canada, Sweden, Russia, Norway, Finland, Australia and France.



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