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Record freight volume for port of Antwerp

For the first time, the Port of Antwerp’s shipping container volume has risen above 10 million TEU

The port of Antwerp is set to end 2016 having handled a record volume of more than 214 million tons of freight.

And for the first time in its history, the shipping container volume has risen above 10 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units, i.e. standard containers), the port said in a press release.

“Liquid bulk is also showing year-on-year expansion and with an estimated volume of just under 70 million tons it’s the second main foundation on which freight growth in Antwerp is based.

“There are positive figures also in the conventional breakbulk and dry bulk sectors, although overall the totals for both segments are negative. The continuing trend towards containerisation has depressed the volumes of, among other things, fruit and paper.

“Meanwhile the volumes of coal and ore have fallen drastically in all North-West European ports,” it said.

Containers and breakbulk

The container volume rose 4.1% over the past 12 months and is expected to end the year at just under 118 million tons. In terms of the number of containers, this represents more than 10 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units), a 4.2% increase.

“With these excellent growth figures Antwerp has further expanded its market share in the Hamburg – Le Havre range. Antwerp has also managed to considerably improve its position in the Far East trade over the past few years, at the expense of its direct competitors Rotterdam and Hamburg.

“The situation among international container shipping companies has altered dramatically in the past few years, with companies entering into collaboration and forming alliances in order to achieve cost savings and efficiencies of scale.

“In 2017 the shipping scene will be dominated by 2M, Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance, making it more important than ever for ports to secure their place in the respective sailing schedules. So far Antwerp has managed very well in this respect.

“In the meantime the ro/ro volume has declined by 1.9%, totalling 4.56 million tons at the end of the 12-month period. This negative result is due to the performance on the export side, as ro/ro exports to Africa and the Near East are down 15% and 18% respectively. In fact exports to all countries around the Persian Gulf have dipped.

On the import side, however, the ro/ro volume is up by 9.5%.

“The conventional breakbulk volume for its part contracted by 2.4%, ending the year at 9.76 million tons. Steel on the other hand experienced strong growth of 12%, but the lower volumes of non-ferrous metals, paper & cellulose and fruit meant that the amount of conventional breakbulk was down overall,” it said.

Seagoing ships

The number of seagoing ships calling at Antwerp rose by 0.7% in 2016: by 31 December a total of 14,523 ships are expected to have visited Antwerp. Apart from the increased number of ships, the growth in gross tonnage is up 9.5% to 402.6 million GT.

“This figure illustrates well how ships visiting Antwerp are getting bigger and bigger: in 2016 Antwerp welcomed 458 container carriers of 13,000 TEU or more, whereas last year the number in this category was only 320,” the port said.

It said the above freight figures are provisional, with definitive ones expected in the second half of January.

Source of images and information: Port of Antwerp

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Port of Antwerp invests in West Africa

The Belgian group Sea-Invest, which already operates in Côte d’Ivoire in the port of Abidjan, will take the lead for this €5.5 million project with construction due to start early next year and the platform expected to be operational around the summer period of next year.

The port of Antwerp and the port of San Pedro in Côte d’Ivoire are working together to cater to the further expansion of the West African trading post.

The world’s top cocoa bean port, San Pedro aims to develop at regional level to also become a logistics hotspot for commodities such as fertilisers and cashew nuts.

Work starts next year on a logistics platform to be called San Pedro Logistique.

Part of the capital cost will be financed by Port of Antwerp International (PAI), the consultancy and investment subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority. Active in West Africa for many years, this marks PAI’s first financial investment in the region.

Collaboration since 2011

A collaboration agreement between the ports of San Pedro and Antwerp dates back to 2011. Since then the freight volume handled by San Pedro has expanded to 4.9 million tons annually, a master plan for development of the port has been drawn up, logistics zones developed and mutual promotion carried out.

A new 5-year memorandum of understanding was signed on September 1 by Antwerp Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx , PAI director Kristof Waterschoot San Pedro Port Authority general manager Hilaire Lamizana.

In addition to supplying the necessary technical expertise for the development, the agreement also specifies that APEC, the training centre for the port of Antwerp, will hold two training seminars per year for San Pedro port personnel.

Investment in new West Africa logistics platform

One of the components of the master plan for development of the port of San Pedro is the creation of a logistics platform. The Belgian group Sea-Invest, which already operates in Côte d’Ivoire in the port of Abidjan, will take the lead for this €5.5 million project with construction due to start early next year and the platform expected to be operational around the summer period of next year.

Antwerp Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx said the investment underlines the port’s belief in San Pedro’s potential thanks to its geographical location and connections with Liberia, Guinea and Mali.



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International tomato conference in April

The "Tomatoes, trends towards 2020" conference aims to create a forum for the exchange of recent scientific knowledge and sales and marketing experiences. Both research and marketing topics will be handled in parallel sessions.

With a lot happening in the tomato sector, such as product innovation, changing expectations from retailers and consumers, and challenging trends, it is time for the in-depth analysis offered by the international conference Tomatoes, trends towards 2020. Being held in Antwerp, Belgium, April 13-15, the conference offers an exciting programme and an interesting platform for stakeholders to meet.
It is also is a way for the LAVA auctions and the Flemish experimental centres to focus on the trends in production, scientific research, marketing and consumption within this product group. The 3-day event offers a varied programme with lectures and discussion forums, as well as taking an in-depth look at day-to-day practice.

Research and marketing under the spotlight
The conference will largely take the form of two parallel sessions, with various speakers going into more detail on scientific research on the one hand and product marketing and sales on the other. Speakers will expand on the topics of quality, sustainability and innovation. The research sessions will tackle the most topical issues such as crop protection, quality, packaging, storage, transport and nutrition. Innovative techniques such as illumination, new growing techniques and mechanisation, selective breeding and physiology will also be on the agenda.

Marketing and consumption
In parallel with the research session, a marketing session will operate, where commercially interested parties can participate in discussion forums and presentations to do with marketing.
On Wednesday 13 April, Philippe Binard (Freshfel) will speak about the production and consumption of tomatoes in the EU. Speakers from various producer regions in the EU will be giving a peek into the trends in tomato production: segmentation, differentiation, marketing and sales methods: Raf De Blaiser (LAVA, Belgium), Marie Deredec (Prince de Bretagne, France), Arne van Aalst (Prominent, Netherlands), Olle Olofsson (Svenska Odlarlaget, Scandinavia) and Jan van der Blom (Coexphal, Spain).
On Thursday 14 April, there will be parallel sessions about research and marketing. Speakers including Jan Schockaert (Colruyt Group) and Ward Verberck (Metro) will share their vision. Other national and international retailers will give their views on the segmentation and sales methods from the point of view of what the consumer wants when it comes to tomatoes.

Food service sector
The food-service sector will also be speaking about the use of tomatoes in the past and in the future. In the afternoon, representatives from Autogrill Europe, Elvea, Starmeal and Reynolds are expected. There will also be the opportunity to listen to a presentation on how sustainability and fair trade are influencing the production, marketing and sales of tomatoes. This will involve the organisations Vredeseilanden, Res Sense and Test Aankoop. At the end of the morning, trend-watcher Adjiedj Bakas will share his views.

Practice meets research
On the final day, Friday 15 April, there is a choice between two different tours with visits to auctions, producers and experimental centres, making for an excellent opportunity to tie in practice with research.

The detailed programme of the three-day event is available at

Source: LAVA (Administrative and Logistic Association of Auctions, the umbrella organisation to promote co-operation among the 5 most important fruit and vegetable auctions in Belgium.)

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A record year at BelOrta

BelOrta’s new tagline – ‘redefining fruit & vegetables’ – expresses its mission: to redefine the standards within the fruit and vegetable landscape, says BelOrta commercial manager Jo Lambrecht.

The leading Belgian supplier will present its new tagline and a wall of innovations at Fruit Logistica.

Last year was a standout one for BelOrta. It achieved record turnover of €400 million by providing the highest quality and innovative fruit and vegetable varieties day in and day out. And it goes into this year with a new message. “From 2016, we shall add a new tagline below our company logo,” explained BelOrta commercial manager Jo Lambrecht. “This tagline, ‘redefining fruit & vegetables’, expresses our mission: to redefine the standards within the fruit and vegetable landscape,” he said. In a rapidly changing market environment, BelOrta completely re-invents itself and is always looking for a higher level in all areas of its business.
For the second time, BelOrta will have its own booth at Fruit Logistica, in hall 6.2 A-04. This year, BelOrta is adding a wall packed with its innovations from 2015 and upcoming launches for 2016. BelOrta focuses on innovation and is continually searching for consumer-desirable products and packaging, innovative growing techniques, storage systems and modernised logistics processes.
Working to improve air connections
With a 60 ha investment project around the location of the BelOrta facilities in Mechelen, BelOrta’s goal together with the Antwerp province’s authorities is to create a large logistics and agronomic park in order to include all of the supply chain activities in one single location. Direct access to the highway will be created soon to improve the road connections. Another project has been started up to facilitate daily logistic connections between the Rungis wholesale market, Brucargo (Brussels airport) and BelOrta. “BelOrta aims to increase its airfreight operations as well,” Lambrecht said. 
The widest vegetable assortment and a world of specialities
“The garden of Europe” today offers more than 150 groups of produce for retail, catering industry professionals and the food industry. Traditional varieties, organics and speciality tomatoes have been the latest 3 categories with the largest Interested to see our Wall of innovations at Fruit Logistica? Visit us in Hall 6.2 A-04 or contact us via or +32 (0)15 565 617 Focus on innovation Wide range of fruits & vegetables Experts in product, production & market knowledge 16073-EN-V2-ad Eurofresh-217×305.indd 1 12/01/16 10:23 Jo Lambrecht increase in items this season. “Several retail customers want some distinctive or sometimes even exclusive items,” Lambrecht said. 
White beans, yellow turnips, jumbo parsnips, topinambours, young ferns, black salsify, black radishes (both long and round types), as well as kale and flower sprouts are among the traditional and new variety selections to seduce both the culinary experts and ordinary consumers with more exclusive flavours and healthy selections. “Our range of kale already includes a wide selection such as green kale, purple kale and the palm variety,” explains Lambrecht. From 2016 onwards, the packaging of the Flandria tomato line will be renovated. All segments (Baron, Prince, Princess, Elite, Romared and Prunella) are getting a new fresh, even look, each with its own colour. The new style guarantees a wider recognition of Flandria tomatoes in the vegetable section.
BelOrta also offers a very large assortment of organic fruit and vegetables today, with over 60 items. Among the more successful varieties this season are the Belgian endives and greenhouse vegetables. “We will increase our organic greenhouse production significantly in 2016,” Lambrecht revealed.