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Flanders’ ports smoothly navigate economic waters

It’s fair to say that 2022 was a challenging year, with geopolitical turmoil and economic recession on a global scale. Yet, amidst this uncertainty, Flanders’ 3 major ports not only weathered the storm, but also continued to up the ante in connecting Flanders’ international business environment to the world. This is reflected in the annual figures that have been announced.

North Sea Port Ghent books record year

For North Sea Port Ghent, 2022 turned out to be the best year since the merger in 2018, with 73.6 million tons of cargo transshipment by sea (+7%) and 64.5 million tons by inland navigation (+7%). In particular, dry bulk transshipment continued to increase strongly (+10%). To explain this growth, CEO Daan Schalck calls attention to additional stock building and an increased supply of raw materials, like oilseeds, crude iron, fertilizers and coal, among others. In 2022, the US was the most important trading partner (+27%).

With another record year, North Sea Port solidifies its position as the number ten port in Europe.

Daan Schalck
CEO of North Sea Port
For 2023, the future looks nothing but bright at North Sea Port, which is still working hard to achieve its long-term goal of climate neutrality by 2050. Together with ArcelorMittal, the port is developing ‘North-C Circular’, a 150-hectare business park to accommodate companies that focus on circular activities. Preparations are at full speed to start construction in the course of 2024.

Growth for Port of Ostend

With 4,658 vessel calls per year, the Port of Ostend remains in a strong position despite the turbulent geopolitical times. The slight decline in bulk tonnages of supplied sand and gravel was compensated by a 1% increase in other maritime traffic. According to President Charlotte Verkeyn, this growth is due to the arrival of numerous new companies in the port. As a result, employment figures are also increasing year after year.

Since 2019, over 450 additional jobs have been created in the Port of Ostend. By attracting new maritime traffic, we want to boost this further in the coming years.

Charlotte Verkeyn
President of Port of Ostend
So close to the sea, the Port of Ostend is part of Flanders’ attractive tech scene where R&D-driven companies like to settle down, giving a huge boost to employment in the region. One of the latest additions to the area is French engineering company ECA GROUP, which is developing a 5,000 m² drone factory at the Ostend site

Port of Antwerp-Bruges keeps a steady course

For the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, 2022 saw many shifts within the various cargo flows, especially the container segment. Compared to 2021, container throughput fell 8.6% in tons and 5.2% in TEUs. This also impacted total cargo throughput, which reached 286.9 million tons (-0.7%). 2022 was also marked by a flood of new investments and projects, which confirms just how attractive the unified port is, as well as the added value of how the two port platforms complement each other, according to CEO Jacques Vandermeiren.

Thanks to our strong international position, Port of Antwerp-Bruges can make a difference in global challenges such as energy transition.

Jacques Vandermeiren
CEO of Port of Antwerp-Bruges

More info

North Sea Port (Ghent)Port of Antwerp-BrugesPort of Ostend
Reported by
Websites and press releases of North Sea Port, Port of Antwerp-Bruges and Port of Ostend
8 March 2023

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