The port of Zeebrugge handled 45.8 million tonnes of merchandise last year, a 14.2% increase compared to 2018, its administration reported on Friday.
Sectors such as new cars, containers, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and Roll-on/Roll-off (“ro-ro”) traffic accounted for the bulk of the increase.
“With these latest figures, we did even better than forecast, despite question marks surrounding Brexit,” said interim CEO Rik Goetinck, who expects the British withdrawal from the EU to have little impact on the port’s activities in 2020.
Growth was registered in all sectors. Ro-ro traffic increased by 3.7%, and container traffic by 7%. After going down in 2017, the quantity of LNG handled in Zeebrugge increased by 60.8% thanks mainly to a new LNG storage reserve. For its part, cruise ship traffic remained stable: the number of cruise ships visiting the harbour went up from 143 in 2018 to 149 last year.
The added activity was accompanied by an increase in the port’s workforce, which went up by 103 staff members or 5.6%.
The search for a new head to replace former CEO Joachim Coens, who resigned to become president of the centrist CD&V political party, is to be launched soon.