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Port of Antwerp-Bruges: merger of the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge creates Europe’s largest export port

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Port of Antwerp-Bruges: merger of the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge creates Europe's largest export port. Image: Port of Antwerp
Port of Antwerp-Bruges: merger of the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge creates Europe's largest export port. Image: Port of Antwerp
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The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge will continue their growth trajectory under one name: Port of Antwerp-Bruges. At the extraordinary general meeting of April 2022, the two cities signed the shareholders’ agreement of the unified port company. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is sharing the concrete manifestation of its ambition – to become a world port that reconciles economy, people and climate – with the rest of the world.

Large-scale but sustainable ambitions

In February 2021, the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges announced the launch of the merger process for their respective ports. Following the signing of the shareholders’ agreement of the unified port company in April 2022, the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge will operate under one name going forward: Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

This unified port provides no fewer than 74,000 direct and 90,000 indirect jobs and with an added value of nearly €21 billion or 4.5% of Belgian GDP, is by far the largest economic engine in our country. Europe’s largest export port, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges will also be the largest throughput port for vehicles, the largest integrated chemical cluster and one of the leading container ports in Europe.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges has the express ambition of becoming the first global port to reconcile economy, people and climate. The unified port plans to further strengthen its position in the international logistics chain, take a leading role in the energy and digital transition, and at the same time create sustainable added value for society as a whole. Not just for the area of Antwerp and Zeebrugge, but also for all possible stakeholders in the wider national and international region.

Strengthening the global position in challenging times

In the current geopolitical and macroeconomic context, the merger is a golden opportunity to put the Antwerp and Zeebrugge port sites, and by extension Flanders, in an even stronger position on the world map. Port of Antwerp-Bruges will capitalise on the strengths of both port locations and focus its strategy on containers, breakbulk, RoRo traffic and chemicals. More than ever, Port of Antwerp-Bruges will play a crucial role in major freight flows and reinforce its position as one of the main gateways to Europe. The unified port has also become Europe’s largest export port – with 147 million tons/year – making it a global heavyweight.

As a leading container port by tonnage – with 159 million tons/year – Port of Antwerp-Bruges aims to meet the need for container capacity due to global growth and recent developments in the international logistics chain. In parallel with the implementation of the Extra Container Capacity Antwerp (ECA) project, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is working on a ‘Container Plan 22-30’ to safeguard its competitive position. Elsewhere, Port of Antwerp-Bruges continues to invest in strategic infrastructure including the Europa Terminal in Antwerp, as well as the New Lock and the Maritime Logistics Zone in Zeebrugge.

By focusing on bolstering interconnectivity between the Antwerp and Bruges sites and achieving economies of scale in the area of digitisation, the unified port will contribute to the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of the logistics chain. In short, Port of Antwerp-Bruges has all of the tools at its disposal to play an increasingly important role on the global logistics stage.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges will combine the best of both worlds and will focus on the strengths of each site. The ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are largely complementary – for example, Antwerp has strengths in the handling and storage of containers, breakbulk and chemical products, while Zeebrugge is a major port for RoRo traffic, container handling and the transshipment of liquid natural gas. By working more closely together, the sustainable growth of the individual and combined market shares of both ports will be perpetuated.

Pioneer in hydrogen and CO2 reuse

Port of Antwerp-Bruges intends to anchor its position as a green energy hub and help shape the energy transition towards a sustainable future. The unified port will continue and extend its pioneering project for the capture, storage and reuse of CO2. Via Antwerp@C, the first 2.5 million tons of CO2 will be captured from industry on the port by 2025. This CO2 will be stored and eventually reused as a raw material for a wide range of applications.

In addition, the combination of Antwerp’s position as the second largest petrochemical cluster in the world and the coastal position of Zeebrugge provides a unique opportunity to take a leading role in the roll-out of the hydrogen economy. ​ By 2028, Port of Antwerp-Bruges plans to have the capacity to receive the first green hydrogen molecules on its platform. To this end, it is working to expand terminal capacity for existing and new hydrogen carriers at both port sites. A hydrogen pipeline between the two sites and towards the European hinterland will ensure that the port area as a whole and, by extension, Belgium and a large part of Europe, can make use of this important carrier for renewable energy.

Finally, Port of Antwerp-Bruges will offer various peerless strengths in innovation and digitisation that will make the logistical chain not only more efficient, but also safer and more reliable. By combining forces and focusing on connection and collaboration, and thanks to strategic investments, Port of Antwerp-Bruges and, by extension, our society, will be able to meet the challenges of the future.

Annick De Ridder, Vice-Mayor of the City of Antwerp and President of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: “The unified port is not only the economic engine of Flanders, buttogether, the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge will also form the largest export port , largest throughput port for vehicles, and the leading chemical hub in Europe! At the same time, Port of Antwerp-Bruges has major ambitions to become the energy gateway to Europe as a ‘green port’. In short, Flemish economic history is being written here today”. ​

Dirk De fauw, Mayor of the City of Bruges and Vice-President of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: “As Mayor of the City of Bruges and Vice-President of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, I am convinced that this merger will lead to sustainable growth in economic activity and jobs in both sites, and boost Flanders’ international reputation around the world. Together, we are stronger”.

 

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Container Terminal

APM Terminals Mobile to expand by 32 acres

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APM Terminals Mobile to expand by 32 acres. Image: APM Terminals
APM Terminals Mobile to expand by 32 acres. Image: APM Terminals
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APM Terminals Mobile has signed an agreement with the Alabama State Port Authority to add 32 acres to the current 134 acre container terminal yard to keep pace with future demand, creating one million TEU throughput capacity that is approved to handle 14,000 TEU ships. This represents the third expansion in the last six years as importers expand their volumes to meet regional consumer demand and tap into rail service to the Midwest U.S. market.

The $104 million terminal expansion will begin later this year. The first 19 acres are expected to be completed in 2023 and the remaining 13 acres by early 2025. As part of the expansion, APM Terminals will purchase two, new super post-panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes and related support equipment for crane operations which will complement the current four gantry cranes. In 2020, the berth was expanded to allow two x 8000 TEU vessels alongside. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently dredging the Mobile Harbor channel to reach 50 feet by late 2024.

APM Terminals Mobile now ranks as second largest U.S. Gulf port of container imports. April 2022 container volumes through the port showed a 39.7% increase over April 2021 volumes. The port’s intermodal container transfer facility posted 112.6% growth during the same period. Refrigerated cargo also maintained its double-digit growth, posting a 57.9% gain over the same period.

APM Terminals Mobile’s operational performance and inland access is driving the growth in services:

  • Port: Port productivity of 35 crane moves per hour berth productivity.
  • Ocean: Five weekly services from Asia, one North Europe service, one Intra-Americas service.
  • Rail: Daily rail departures to U.S. Midwest markets via Five Class I railroads serving the port (2.5 day direct doublestack service to Chicago). Two new cranes were added to the near dock, Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) in August 2021. In 2024, more rail infrastructure will be added in Montgomery, Alabama when the Alabama Port Authority and CSX build an intermodal container transfer facility to serve expanding port volumes.
  • Truck: High productivity truck gates. 52 minute turntimes, including 83% dual transactions (where truckers optimize their route, bringing in export containers or empty containers and picking up a full import container).
  • Logistics: Five major logistics parks nearby.
  • Air freight: Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley is adjacent to port for ecommerce/parcel/aerospace.
  • Cold chain: CN refrigerated packs available for northbound rail cargoes. New cold storage facility opened October 2021.

“Supply chain leaders are looking to expand their routing options in 2022 to add more flexibility and fulfillment speed to serve consumer demand. We’re working with customers to deliver high port productivity, more port space and more inland logistics connectivity to address the market demand,” said Brian Harold, Managing Director of APM Terminals Mobile.

New Central America service added

Sealand – A Maersk Company has added a new service called the Bonita Express with the inaugural call at APM Terminals Mobile on May 18th. The new, direct all-water service links Mobile in the U.S.
Gulf to the key Central American ports of Puerto Cortes in Honduras and Santo Tomas de Castilla in Guatemala (with connectivity to multiple inland locations including to/from Nicaragua and El Salvador).

Alabama as a site selection

Major companies already in Alabama are Hyundai, AM/NS Calvert, Outokumpu, Northrop Grumman, Mercedes Benz, Honda, Airbus, Amazon, Walmart, BendPak and Bella + Canvas have selected the Port
of Mobile and the state of Alabama as a hub for global logistics supply and distribution as well as manufacturing.

Alabama business incentives and customs tax packages are designed to attract new and expand existing industries. A variety of jobs and investment credits are available for qualifying projects. Other business incentives include tax credits for cargo owners on incremental cargo volumes.

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Break Bulk

“K” LINE Group’s Yokohama Daikoku C-4 Terminal starts operation

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“K” LINE Group’s Yokohama Daikoku C-4 Terminal starts operation. Image: "K" LINE
“K” LINE Group’s Yokohama Daikoku C-4 Terminal starts operation. Image: "K" LINE
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Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. – “K” LINE and Daito Corporation have started operation of “K” LINE Group’s first dedicated finished vehicle terminal in Japan, at Yokohama Daikoku C-4 Terminal from April 2022. In April, “IVORY ARROW” operated by “K” LINE, a pure car and truck carrier, made its first call at the terminal. A safety prayer ceremony with the terminal operators and an opening ceremony with the attendance of many related parties was held.

The terminal is used not only as an export and transshipment base for finished vehicles but also handle a wide variety of vehicles such as break-bulk cargoes by utilizing work facility with large roof in terminal in order to meet a variety of needs.

In addition, the terminal will use electric power generated from renewable energy sources with virtually zero CO2 emissions. The terminal will procure 100% wind-generated renewable energy from blockchain-based electricity traceability service (a service for specifying the power plants from which electricity is procured) of “Minna-Denryoku”, operated by UPDATER Corporation.

In last November, “K” LINE has revised a part of our long term environmental guideline “K”LINE Environmental Vision 2050” and set our new target for 2050 as “The challenge of Achieving Net-Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions”. The company strives to enhance their corporate value by contributing to the sustainable development of the economy and society, while protecting the environment through our business activities.

<Terminal Overview>

Name : Yokohama Daikoku C-4 Terminal
Location : Daikoku Futo 22&24, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Japan
Business : Finished-vehicle logistics
Pier length : 350 m (1 berth)
Sea depth : 15 m
Total yard area : Approx. 153,500 m2 (including berth area)
Parking slots : Approx. 8,000 units

 

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Maritime

Valenciaport detects a contraction in Spanish export activity in April

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Valenciaport detects a contraction in Spanish export activity in April. Image: Port Authority of Valencia
Valenciaport detects a contraction in Spanish export activity in April. Image: Port Authority of Valencia
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The geopolitical situation marked by the world crisis in the energy sector, the war in Ukraine, the price of fuel, the increase in the cost of energy and the shortage of raw materials are weighing down the activity of Spanish companies that use the docks of Valenciaport to sell their products abroad, while domestic demand continues to rise. Thus, in the first four months of the year, data from the Statistical Bulletin of the Port Authority of Valencia show that total traffic amounted to more than 27 million tonnes, which represents a decrease of 3.66% compared to the same period in 2021, while TEUs amounted to 1,702,236, with a drop of 7.99%. Regarding containers, full containers dedicated to foreign sales have decreased by 12.72%, while those dedicated to imports have grown by 6.96% during the first four months of the year. A situation that is also seen in the month of April, where full cargo containers fell by 19.87% while those for unloading grew by 35.5%.

This trend is shown in all sectors with generalised decreases in all of them such as vehicles and transport elements (-7.68%), agri-foodstuffs (-15.79%), construction materials (-10.55%), chemical products (-18.14%) and other goods (-21.5%). On the other hand, imports grew, especially natural gas arriving at the Port of Sagunto, which between January and April amounted to 1,305,445 tonnes, three times more than in the first four months of 2021.

If the year-on-year trend is compared, the overall figures for Valenciaport stand at 83.85 million tonnes handled, with a growth of 1.15% and a total of 5,456,592 containers handled, a figure 1.31% lower than the previous period. In annual terms, full containers of cargo dedicated to exports amounted to 1,036,499 with an increase of 2.83% and full containers for unloading (import), which stood at 856,049 containers with an increase of 16.28%. On the other hand, full transit containers fell by 8 per cent and empty containers fell by 1 per cent.

Vehicles and countries

In terms of ro-ro traffic, 4,075,945 tonnes were handled in the first four months of the year, a similar figure to the same period in 2021; while cars under the goods regime stood at 197,187 units, up 4.77%. On the other hand, passenger traffic amounted to 239,492 people (including regular lines and cruise passengers), with a total growth of 168%. During these months, 61 cruise ships have been received with nearly 68,000 passengers.

About total traffic by country, the United States has generated the most traffic with a total of 3,086,521 tonnes and a growth of 22.5%. A third of this traffic is imports, which increased by 200%, although this month the growth of products from the North American country has moderated. This was followed by Italy with 2,537,470 tonnes and an increase of 1.4%, while China, with a decrease of 4.9% and a total of 2,149,086. The number of containers handled with China was 189,710 (-6.95%), followed by the United States with 167,340 (-3.3%) and Turkey with 89,355 (-20.6%).

By geographical areas, the main container market is the Mediterranean-Black Sea with 300,144 and a drop of 10.84%; followed by the Far East with 258,637 (-4.59%); and West Africa with 107,207 TEUs (-7.66%). The most dynamic areas between January and March were Atlantic Europe with a growth of 50.7%, Australia (+18.45%) and South and East Africa (+18.43%).

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