European automotive ports could not find enough room in 2018, a situation made all the more difficult by the fact many of them were turned into parking lots as new diesel emissions regulations in Europe in the form of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) caused wild fluctuations in distribution patterns. Continued trade uncertainty between Europe and the UK, and more globally with upsets between the US and China continuing, had their impact too. However, the main ports also had positive developments to report in terms of long-term infrastructure investment and the adoption of digital technology to improve throughput and security.
Last year, volumes remained steady at Europe’s busiest vehicle handling port, the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, despite the various pressures on European ports generally, and the port says that was down to an increase in new customers and car brands. That, in part, has been brought by a growth in vehicle deliveries by Toyofuji Shipping, which celebrated the shipment of 2m vehicles between Zeebrugge and the UK ports of Grimsby and Sheerness. According to Zeebrugge port’s spokesperson, traffic from Toyofuji has increased by 44%.
Finding space for these vehicles, however, has required some work and a number of projects to address this were underway in 2018. They include an expansion of operating space at the port’s Bastenaken terminal, enabling the port to handle more and bigger vessels. . . . . . . .
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