Brussels - The tonnage of shortsea cargo (import and export taken together) handled in 4 Flemish ports during the first half of 2014 shows a growth of almost 2.5 million tonnes (+ 3.6%) compared to the same period last year. Compared to the first half of 2011 (the record first six months to date) the traffic observed was almost 750,000 tonnes (1%) higher.
• With almost 71.2 million tonnes during the first half of 2014, the shortsea traffic in the Flemish ports reaches its highest level since 1999.
• The share of shortsea transport in the overall traffic in the Flemish ports amounts to 53%. That figure once again underlines the importance of shortsea shipping in Flanders. That transport mode appears to be firmly embedded in the European transport chains.
In absolute numbers the end of June 2014 was reached with a total of 71,183,275 tonnes of handled shortsea traffic for the 4 ports taken together (import and export).
- With 46,337,157 tonnes, Antwerp claimed the largest share. Compared to the first half year of 2013 the growth amounted to 1 million tonnes.
- With 8,717,986 tonnes, the port of Ghent witnessed an increase of 0.9 million tonnes compared to January-June 2013.
- With 15,367,326 tonnes, Zeebrugge also showed an increase of 0.9 million tonnes vis-à-vis de first half of 2013. Just like Antwerp, it sets a new record as far as the first half of the year is concerned.
- The shortsea traffic in the port of Ostend dropped back to 760,806 tonnes, a loss of 0.4 million tonnes compared to the same period last year. However, compared to the second half of 2013 (619,327 tonnes) the figures are on the increase again.
The percentage share of shortsea in the overall cargo handled differs from port to port. Ostend scores almost 100%. Antwerp, situated further inland, has 47.17% of shortsea freight. Ghent and Zeebrugge obtain 65.95 and 69.72% respectively. The major importance of shortsea shipping for the four Flemish ports is illustrated by its 53% share in the total maritime tonnage handled. SSS on the inland waterways (sea-river) is again doing better. During the first six months of 2014 the traffic slightly increased by 28.019 tonnes overall, compared to the same period last year.
The Brussels-Scheldt Canal registered 578,942 tonnes (+66,049 tonnes), mainly consisting of import cargo. As far as the Albert Canal is concerned, 133,817 tonnes were recorded (mainly export cargo), a drop of 38,030 tonnes. Nevertheless, compared to the second half of 2013, a slight upward trend can be noted there. The sea-river vessels carry the cargo far inland, often to a loading or unloading facility in the vicinity of the final customer.