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Shortsea shipping in Belgium reaches a new record in 2011

Date: 12/04/2012

The forceful revival of shortsea shipping in 2010 continued into the first half of 2011 (+4.7% compared to the first six months of 2010). On the whole a new record has been set in 2011, with more than 135 million tonnes of cargo being handled in the four Flemish ports, as is shown by figures published by the Shortsea Promotion Centre Flanders. 

• With a total of 135.2 million tonnes the shortsea traffic in the Flemish ports exceeded that of the record year 
  2010 by 0.20% (134.9 million tonnes)
• In relation to the catastrophic year 2009 the increase was considerable: +13.9%.
• The share of shortsea transport in the global traffic in the Flemish ports amounts to 51%.
• SSS traffic has increased in Antwerp (+1.6%) and particularly in Ghent (+8.5%). Zeebrugge loses some 
  ground (-4.4%).
• Ostend continues to lose traffic (- 21.9%).
• The second half of 2011 clearly show the impact of the crisis: in that period 5.6 million tonnes less were 
  handled compared to the first six months of the year (-8%).
• In absolute figures the four ports taken together finished on 135,259,924 tonnes at the end of December.

- With 85,482,380 tonnes of shortsea cargo Antwerp took the lion's share. However, in the second half of the 
  year the shortsea traffic dropped from 44.5 to 40.9 million tonnes.
- The port of Ghent witnessed the largest increase, rising 8.5% above the 2010 total to 17,105,160 tonnes of 
  shortsea cargo. Both halves of the year did not differ much: 8.9 and 8.2 million tonnes respectively.
- With a total of 28,842,963 tonnes Zeebrugge showed a slight decrease. There too, both halves of the year 
  were relatively equal (14.7 and 14.1 million tonnes).
- The port of Ostend fell back on a total shortsea traffic of van 3,829,421 tonnes.

The percentage share of shortsea in the total volume of cargo handled, differs from port to port. Ostend scores almost 100%. Antwerp is a port that is located further inland and has a shortsea share of 45.7%. Ghent and Zeebrugge have a shortsea share of 62.9 and 61.4% respectively. The great importance of shortsea shipping for the four Flemish ports is clearly shown by its share of no less than 51% of all maritime tonnage handled.

The promotion office has been gathering shortsea figures from 1999 onward. Since that year the evolution has shown a solid growth of 52,8% from 88.5 to 135.2 million tonnes. This sturdy growth clearly shows that shortsea has become a durable part of Europe's global transport chain.

SSS has been doing very well on the inland waterways (sea-river) too. On the maritime canal Brussels-Scheldt no less than 1,323,973 tonnes of shortsea goods were shipped (+18.6% compared to 2010). As far as the Albert Canal is concerned, a total of 289,915 tonnes has been recorded, which amounts to about a status quo vis-à-vis 2010. The sea-river vessels carry the cargo far inland, often to a loading or unloading site close to the final customer.

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