The uncertainty over Brexit continues but one thing is clear: as soon as the UK leaves the European Union in one way or another, there will be big changes in British imports and exports. Port of Antwerp sees new opportunities here, such as a shift from ferry to container transport.
From truck to ship
With nearly 17 million tonnes of freight in 2018, the UK is the second-largest overseas trading partner for Port of Antwerp. Chemicals, oil products and foodstuffs, in particular, find their way across the North Sea to and From Antwerp.
Goods entering or leaving Europe via ferry ports will be faced with more red tape and inspections after Brexit, with consequent impacts on costs and transit times. In the meantime, there is a growing shortage of truck drivers.
Together these developments will inevitably entail a shift from traditional (accompanied) freight to unaccompanied container transport by ship. To meet the needs of traders wanting to send their consignments by ship, Port of Antwerp is making great efforts to expand its shipping links with the UK. Antwerp already has links with nine British and Irish ports, and these shortsea services will become even more important in future.
Reliability is crucial
Experience in non-EU trade gives an advantage to the many logistics service providers in the port of Antwerp. Their expertise contributes to smooth handling of customs procedures. And thanks to the extensive storage capacity for all types of freight the port can also act as a buffer for a certain length of time. In so doing the logistics chain remains reliable and customers are not faced with unexpected costs or other unpleasant surprises.