Port of Antwerp chemical traffic rises as producers expand capacities

30 January 2014 17:40 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Chemicals and petroleum freight traffic at Belgium’s Port of Antwerp gained "significant" market share in 2013, with liquid bulk shipments rising 31.4% to 59.5m tonnes over the past 12 months, the port said on Thursday.

Maritime bulk chemical cargo registered "a leap forward close to 10%" versus the traffic realised in 2012, to above 11m tonnes, Port of Antwerp said.

Meanwhile, energy, chemicals and logistics companies continue to invest at the port which ranks as one of the most important global chemical transport hubs.

Overall, the port handled a total freight volume of 190.8m tonnes last year.

"The traffic volume in 2013 exceeds that of the record year 2008, and is again higher than just before the international financial crisis," the port said.

The port said a number of energy and chemicals firms are continuing to expand operations in Antwerp. It cited projects by Total, Ferro, Kuwait Petroleum International, BP Lubes, Air Liquide and Praxair.

In addition, ExxonMobil’s refinery in Antwerp is "currently examining plans for further investment in their Antwerp plant," the port said.

In Antwerp’s chemical sector, producers such as LANXESS, BASF, INEOS Oxide, FRX Polymers and Evonik all reported "significant investments" in 2013," the port said.

Meanwhile, logistics and tank storage firms plan to continue to expand as well, the port added.

The port currently has 15 tank storage terminals with a total capacity of 6.4m cubic metres.

"During the last ten years Belgium has thus become the leader in Europe for imports of chemicals from the [Middle East] Gulf States," the port said.

The port added "a site survey is being started up for the development of a corridor between the chemical cluster in Antwerp and chemical companies in Limburg, Netherlands, and the German Ruhr region." It did not disclose further details about this project.

Nigel Davis contributed to this article

By Stefan Baumgarten