Categories: EuropePublished On: 01.05.2019384 words1.9 min read

With a 6th year record, growth in all cargotypes and a recent wave of investments, 2018 will be a ‘grand cru’ year for the Port of Antwerp. The confirmation of the port’s attractiveness and the consolidation of its position as a global player and the largest integrated European chemical cluster are essential to the continuity of its role as the largest economic engine of Belgium. Below you will find the final annual figures for 2018.

Unseen growth in all segments

With a growth of 5.2% compared to 2017, the earlier forecasts for a 6th consecutive year record are confirmed. The total transhipment in 2018 was 235.2 million tonnes, a new record, with unprecedented growth in all cargotypes.

Container chart continues to grow

The strong growth in container traffic continued to 130.9 million tonnes (+6.4%) or 11.1 million TEU (+6.2%). All trades recorded growth, both in supply and export, with the only exception of supplies from the Middle East and Latin America, which showed a slight decrease.


The total breakbulktranshipment shows a slightly positive figure with a growth of 1%. The RoRocargo grew by 5.4% to 5.3 million tonnes. The number of shipped passenger cars increased by 4.7% to just under 1.3 million.

Whereas conventional breakbulkrecorded a loss of 2.7% after 9 months compared to the same period in 2017, this was limited on an annual basis to a loss of 1.1% for a transhipment of 10.16 million tonnes. The reason for this is a strong performance in both the supply and removal of iron and steel, which grew by 3.5% and 3.4% respectively.

Bulk goods

Liquid bulkshows strong growth figures with an increase from 3.6% to 75.8 million tonnes. The supply increases by 4.2%. The discharge grows by 2.2% which is a considerable catch-up movement compared to an increase of 0.5% after 9 months. Crude oil transhipment decreased by 5.3%, while the transhipment of petroleum derivatives (54.6 million tonnes and +3.1%) and chemicals (15.2 million tonnes and +9.1%) pushed up liquid bulk.

Dry bulktranshipment grew by 7.2% to 13 million tonnes. This is mainly due to the increased transhipment of fertilisers (+12.2%), sand and gravel (+17.7%) and the more than doubling of coal transhipment. The latter is partly due to a shift to Antwerp of maritime coal traffic destined for Germany due to the extremely low water conditions on the Rhine in the summer and autumn of 2018.

Seagoing ships

In 2018, 14,595 seagoing vessels (+2.6%) called at Antwerp. The gross tonnage of these ships increased by 3% to 418,838,751 GT.

Source: port of Antwerp website