With a total of 9,969,036 tonnes, the
Port of Antwerp recorded a 7.5 percent increase in the handling of refrigerated
containers and perishable goods in 2017 compared with the previous year. The
growth measured in TEU is as high as 8.5 percent and increased from 704,853 TEU
in 2016 to 765,105 TEU in 2017
“The continuing growth of reefer traffic
via the Port of Antwerp confirms that the range of transhipment and extended
services for perishable goods offer real added value to the market. We are
approaching the 10 million tons mark, which we hope to exceed next year,” said
Maartje Driessens, Business Development Manager Perishables of the Antwerp Port
Authority, during a press breakfast at this year’s Fruit Logistica.
Connections to the world’s fruit and
vegetable regions have also improved significantly like connections to West
Africa and Latin America. Antwerp is frequently the first port of call in
Western Europe, which is a particular advantage for this sensitive cargo.
In addition to transhipment, the
specialised Port of Antwerp also offers a wide range of services, from special
refrigerated and fresh storage areas to expert value-added services such as
quality control, ripening and assistance for phytosanitary inspection as well
as customs clearance.
In March, construction work will begin
on a cold storage facility for Luik Natie Coldstore with 6,000 square metres of
space for honey and bananas from Ecuador and Côte d’ Ivoire. Luik Natie also
plans to build a warehouse for frozen products with a capacity of around 22,000
pallet spaces by 2019.
The Antwerp fruit hub is also offering
new transport solutions. For example, ECU Worldwide, Antwerp’s largest
consolidator, has recently introduced a special reefer service for smaller
cargo sizes between Europe and the USA. The line between Antwerp and Baltimore
operates every 14 days for temperature-controlled cargoes between 16 and 18 °C
and once a month for frozen goods in the range of -20 °C and below.
In the hinterland, service providers are
focusing in particular on the sustainable modal shift from road to rail and
inland waterway transport. At the end of 2017, Remant Cool Logistics began
transporting frozen Belgian fries in reefer containers by barge from the
Belgian factory to the Port of Antwerp, which will save around 8,000 truck runs
per year. The wholesale organisation Group De Witte, which imports pineapples
from Costa Rica via Antwerp, has also shifted the onward transportation of
reefer containers to their final destination in Brussels by barge.
The Port of Antwerp and its service
providers are also very much involved in the digitisation of the global supply
chain. For example, foodcareplus is currently developing a food logistics and
transport platform that combines blockchain technology and state-of-the-art
monitoring systems in an innovative all-in-one solution. As a result, the food
supply chain not only gains transparency and reliability, but also offers the
highest degree of security. In order to further optimize processes, the
platform will be open not only to customers but also to other participants in
the supply chain, such as quality inspectors and food safety regulators.
events concerning perishables in Antwerp
Industry experts and practitioners will
be discussing the future of fresh food logistics in Antwerp this year. The
Belgian port city attracted two major industry events to Antwerp in 2018:
European Cold Chain Conference, 14-16 March 2018, Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel
Logistics Global Conference and Exhibition, 2-4 October 2018, Port of Antwerp
The 10th anniversary
edition of this high-level cold chain event will include a visit to Antwerp’s
reefer infrastructure within the port.