Port of Antwerp-Bruges sees decline in cargo throughput due to poor economic outlook
The port of Antwerp-Bruges recorded a total cargo throughput of 204.4 million tonnes in the first three quarters of 2023, a decrease of 6 per cent compared to the same period last year, the port authority announced on Tuesday morning.
The port blames the difficult economic situation for the decline. "The unstable geopolitical and economic conditions are leading to lower demand for container transport worldwide, while other cargo flows continue to show a mixed picture," it said in a press release.
It also cited rising interest rates and a generally negative outlook. "With an uncertain economic environment, container trade flows are declining globally, despite lower energy prices."
Container market share rises
However, the port authority sees some bright spots. "Thanks to the strong international position of our unified port, where sustainable growth remains a priority, the market share of the container segment is increasing compared to the Hamburg-Le Havre range."
Specifically, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges' market share in the Hamburg-Le Havre range - the North Sea ports in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France - rose by 1 percentage point to 30.6 per cent in the first half of this year.
"We will have to resign ourselves to the fact that 2023 will not be a peak year"
CEO Jacques Vandermeiren says the competitiveness of the European industry is under pressure, due to high energy, raw material and labour costs combined with low global demand, and that the situation will not improve this year. "We will have to resign ourselves to the fact that 2023 will not be a great year," he said.
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