Antwerp 1st quarter box volume down 16%
The Port of Antwerp's first quarter container volume dropped 16.3 percent to 1.7 million TEUs, in the first quarter of 2009.
It was part of an unexpected, but steep drop in overall cargo volume for the Belgian port. Volume by tonnage dropped 19.3 percent, with conventional and breakbulk throughput down 30.7 percent. Ship calls declined 16.3 percent.
Only liquid bulk, which dropped 4.1 percent in the first quarter, didn't experience a significant decline, the port said.
'The contraction is in line with the prognosis put forward at the beginning of this year by Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx in his presentation of the figures for 2008 as a whole,' the port said in a statement. 'He forecast a general decline of around 15 percent in the total volume, and stated that the container volume could be around 20 percent lower. According to him we cannot yet say on the basis of the current figures whether the situation has bottomed out. The port authority is convinced that further investment in the port is still the best response to the continuing crisis: exceptional circumstances call for exceptional measures.'