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  • 2022 January 28 15:55

    Project cargo on the rise at Port of Antwerp thanks to EU Green Deal

    Breakbulk volumes grew explosively in 2021 at the Port of Antwerp, after a huge downward spiral in 2020 due to the pandemic and global trade wars, according to the company's release. The main driver is a sharp increase in steel import volumes. But also striking is the rise in project cargo shipments, thanks to ongoing projects around renewable energy and the construction of chemical plants.

    In 2021, breakbulk volumes reached 1 million tons per month, totaling 11.5 million tons for the whole year (excl. roro). This marks no less than a 74% rise in figures compared to 2020, surpassing the previous record growth of 2012. On top of that, Port of Antwerp reclaimed its market leadership in Europe, confirming its home port position for breakbulk.

    The Fit for 55 package and other measures taken by the EU to evolve to carbon neutrality is pushing European industry to further transit to carbon neutral sources of energy and hence driving refurbishment of plants and investment in renewable energy – marked by significant government investments in this sector. Port of Antwerp is home to a huge chemical cluster and expects further developments in this respect.

    The port's geographical location helps to secure the transport of project cargo to and from Europe, such as cargo destined for energy plants in Germany or northern France via road or inland waterways.

    Wind turbine components heading for France for instance, have become a regular transport in Antwerp. Several specialized service providers are involved to carefully handle blades, hubs, nacelles, motors and tower sections. The meticulously coordinated process of unloading these long or heavy pieces is illustrated in a story on the Port of Antwerp website, along with insights into other cargo journeys – ranging from heavy units transhipped onto a barge heading for a power plant along the River Neckar in Germany, to precious metal furnaces manufactured in Germany and shipped to China via Antwerp.

    The sudden growth in breakbulk volumes is also putting resources and handling capacity to the test. Currently, breakbulk service providers are doing all they can to cope with any operational disruptions to be able to service the industry through its growth. Many of them are also investing in the expansion of capacity, dedicated warehouses with reinforced floors, heavy lift cranes and intermodal linked terminals. Terminal operator PSA Breakbulk plans to invest 11 million euro for a new heavy cargo terminal along the Churchill dock, while packing specialist Deufol is extending its warehousing capacity in Antwerp for the seaworthy packaging of industrial loads.




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