Port of Antwerp: Scheldt Deepening Results Increased Number of Large Ships
Analysis of the number of vessels calling at the port of Antwerp in the first half of 2013 reveals a significant increase in the number of large ships.
The deepening of the Scheldt in combination with optimised chain operation – in which shipping movements are managed as part of a continuous chain from open sea to berth in port – is clearly producing the intended results. During the first half of 2013, 1.7% fewer seagoing ships called at the port than in the same period last year. But behind this decrease there is a rise of 3.5% in the gross tonnage to 163.5 million GT due to the number of much larger seagoing ships. And when we look at the number of container carriers of 13,000 TEU and up we see a rise of 35% in comparison with the first half of 2012.
The container carrier Xin Ya Zhou was ceremonially welcomed in the Antwerp Gateway Terminal on 17 July, as the first vessel in the resumed call by the AEX1 Far East service operated by China Shipping. Antwerp will be served on a weekly basis, with the full rotation being Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Port Kelang, Felixstowe, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Nansha, Shanghai and Dalian. The transit time between Dalian and Antwerp is 38 days.
China Shipping will contribute six vessels of 8,500 to 9,500 TEU while Zim will contribute three units of 10,060 TEU. In the meantime China Shipping will gradually replace its smaller vessels with units of 10,000 TEU.
At the beginning of July this year the Cosco Pride, a container carrier operated by the Chinese shipping company Cosco, carried out a successful test trip from the Deurganck dock on the left bank of the Scheldt in Antwerp. This vessel with an LOA of 366 m left with a draught of 14.9 m. Both the shipping company and the various partners in the nautical chain were very satisfied with the results. In addition to the draught achieved, the flexibility and professionalism demonstrated by all the parties involved were an excellent advertisement for the port of Antwerp, which combines the advantages of a first-rate seaport with its location close to the European hinterland. This week the mw Cosco Hope left with a draught of 14.8 m.
Inbound, the MSC Savona already entered the port of Antwerp in May 2011 with a draught of no less than 15.50 m.
Maersk for its part has announced that as of this autumn the 8,400 TEU vessels in its AE2 service, which also call at Antwerp, will be replaced with units of 13,000 TEU. In a following move the vessels in the Emma Maersk class (15,500 TEU) will also be transferred to the AE2 service. The Emma Maersk already called at Antwerp last year.
Antwerp Port Authority and the nautical partners are looking farther towards the future. The Hydrological Laboratory in Borgerhout is carrying out tests to verify the accessibility of the port for the latest units of 18,000 TEU now being built. The results are positive, which means that this new generation of ships will be able to reach Antwerp safely and efficiently. The improvement in accessibility combined with Antwerp’s location deep inland and its excellent connections with the hinterland are important advantages for the port and its customers alike.
Press Release, August 8, 2013