2021 March 12 14:40

Port of Antwerp sees strong growth in reefer segment in 2020

The port of Antwerp handled a total volume of 1 million TEU reefer containers in the year 2020, according to the company's release.

This represents a 10.5% growth from 2019. Growth was substantial in both imports and exports. It is striking that these results far exceed the worldwide average growth of the reefer market (3% - 4%), as a result of which the port is consolidating its role as an important player in the reefer segment. The volume of reefer containers is steadily making up a larger relative share of the total number of containers handled in Antwerp. 8% of all containers handled at the port of Antwerp are reefer containers, compared with 7.3% in 2019.

Cold chain, and in particular the reefer container corridor with Latin America, remains an important pillar in the port's commercial strategy. In recent years, the port of Antwerp has expanded its existing range with several first port of call services from Latin America.

In order to share its knowledge on the subject, Port of Antwerp launched a series of webinars for its fellow sectors in countries such as Peru, Colombia and Ecuador in 2020. A successful example of this was the second edition of the Perishables Logistics Seminar organised by APEC, the Port of Antwerp maritime training institute. This course on cold chain logistics in Europe was attended by professionals from across the industry. Owing to continued interest, the port of Antwerp is organising a number of webinars in the spring of 2021.

A valuable share of the reefer segment is taken up by the transport of pharmaceutical products. In order to guarantee the quality of medical products throughout the distribution process, the EU established the GDP (Good Distribution Practice) guidelines. The port of Antwerp has translated these regulations into a maritime context, making it the first port in the world to take the initiative to operate according to these standards in all links of the logistics chain. This ensures that reefer container transport of pharmaceutical products becomes a valid alternative to air transport and that the service – including with regard to other products in the cold chain – becomes even more high-quality and transparent.