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Port of Antwerp: growth despite eventful 2021

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Port of Antwerp: growth despite eventful 2021. Image: Port of Antwerp
Port of Antwerp: growth despite eventful 2021. Image: Port of Antwerp
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2021 was another year full of challenges for the port of Antwerp. But despite disruptions in the global supply chain, Port of Antwerp performed strongly, matching the record year of 2019. Total cargo throughput in 2021 was 240 million tons; a growth of 3.8% compared to 2020 and slight growth compared to 2019. 2022 promises to be an exciting year, with the merger with Port of Zeebrugge and important milestones for numerous pioneering projects, despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Growth figures thanks to continued resilience

Global containerised liner shipping is still highly disrupted, causing irregular calls from ocean-going vessels and ports to be missed out in the rotation. As a result, average call sizes are getting higher and higher and there are ever-increasing peaks in call sizes. This represents a major challenge for the entire logistics chain in and around the port. In addition, the shortage of port labour, mainly due to COVID-19 and federal measures to combat the virus, also played a role. Container traffic, despite these difficult conditions, held steady in 2021 with a status quo of 12,02 million TEU (-0.1%).

Conventional breakbulk grew by a whopping 73.6%. In 2021, the segment experienced its highest throughput in the past 10 years, achieving throughput of 11,5 million tons. The main reason for this is the strong throughput of steel (+81%), the most important product group within this segment. RoRo throughput grew 13.9% in tons compared to 2020. The number of vehicles, both new and used, also showed growth compared to 2020 (+8%), but is still 15% below the 2019 level.

Dry bulk throughput increased by 15.1% in 2021. Fertilisers in particular did very well recording the highest throughput in 10 years due to price developments. Liquid bulk numbers grew in line with previous years, expanding this past year by 3.1%. The strong increase in gasoline throughput offset the sharp decline in diesel and fuel oil throughput. The throughput of chemicals had its best year ever, ending at +12.9%.

As a result of the logistical and administrative challenges caused by Brexit, the flow of goods between the EU and the UK decreased. Despite this, the port of Antwerp recorded growth in total throughput of 6.0% with the UK and 14.6% with Ireland compared to 2020, mainly due to the extensive shortsea connections.

The number of reefer containers increased by 2.6% in 2021 compared to the same period last year. This is partly due to increased demand and on the other hand due to the strong maritime position in the shipping areas of Latin America, Africa and the United States.

Continuing to pioneer

In 2022, in addition to resilience, the focus remains on the strategic priorities of purposeful transition and sustainable growth. Essential steps forward will be made here in the coming year. The program includes the delivery of the first methanol-powered tug, the methatug. It will be an important year for the NextGen District, the future hotspot for the circular economy in the heart of the port. The first concessionaires have now officially signed and we will proceed with the practical implementation in the coming months.

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp: “Port of Antwerp seeks to reaffirm its pioneering role in the transition to climate neutrality in 2022. Thanks to pioneering lighthouse projects, such as the hydrogen import coalition and Antwerp@C/Kairos@C, for the capture and storage of CO2, we can live up to this role and accelerate the transition. In addition, the sustainable growth of our port remains an absolute priority. We therefore hope that we will soon receive the permit for the renewal of the Europa terminal so that we can start the works.”

Annick De Ridder, chairman of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp and Antwerp Alderman responsible for the port: “The port of the future must be one that fully understands and endorses the climate ambitions and environmental objectives. To this end, 2021 saw many, mainly major, steps taken, always embedded in fruitful collaborations, even beyond our borders. For the port of Antwerp, 2021 was certainly also the year of ‘smart security’. Innovation and digitalisation are crucial to ensuring the sustainable growth of our port in the long term.”

Approval of merger with Port of Zeebrugge

2022 is all about the merger with the port of Zeebrugge. An important milestone is the approval earlier this week from the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA). All the formal steps will be taken to finalise the merger in the coming months. The official launch date for Port of Antwerp-Bruges is at the end of April.

Annick De Ridder, chairman of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp and Antwerp Alderman responsible for the port: “The ongoing COVID crisis, the many outstanding vacancies, the Suez incident and the associated global disruptions made 2021 another challenging year for our port. Thanks to the dedication and resilience of the entire port platform, we not only weathered these storms, we even managed to return to the record year of 2019. Moreover, with the approval of the BMA, the merger with the port of Zeebrugge has set the final straight. Together, we can focus even more on the transition to a low-carbon economy and on the further digitalisation of the logistics chain.”

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp: “Despite the strong performance, 2021 was not an easy year for our port. Thanks to the resilience and world-renowned qualities of our port community, we have returned to the 2019 pre-COVID-19 year after barely a year. However, there continue to be important areas of concern. Short-term labour availability in this challenging sanitation situation. In the longer term, the nitrogen matter, the achievement of much-needed additional container capacity, and the energy transition will be great challenges. That is why the historic agreement of the merger with the port of Zeebrugge is visionary. Together, we are stronger to face the challenges of the future.”

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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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