Antwerp Port Authority's comprehensive expertise in breakbulk is one of its signature features. To reinforce its position in this segment, Antwerp Port Authority is aiming at growth markets. The port of St. Petersburg on the Baltic coast of Russia is one of these. To highlight Antwerp’s breakbulk know-how, as well as its range of shipping services and its strategic location within Europe, Antwerp Port Authority organised a Breakbulk Forum in St. Petersburg on 20 October. Speakers at this event included Eddy Bruyninckx, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority, and Captain Parinov, chairman of the Port of St. Petersburg.


The St. Petersburg region is an important growth market for breakbulk and project cargo. The city’s main industries are high-tech engineering and metalworking. Together these two sectors account for 42% of the city’s production volume and half of its employment. The future of the region, and by extension Russia as a whole, also looks very promising. The expectation is that Russia will account for a growing proportion of Antwerp's freight volume.


During the Breakbulk Forum the Port Authority focused on the added value that the port of Antwerp is able to provide for breakbulk cargo. Many Russian customers recognise the advantages of Antwerp. The Russian steel group Mechel, for instance, is to open a dedicated service centre for handling steel products on the Wijngaard Natie site in January 2011. In a further development Finnlines, a member of the Grimaldi group, recently expanded its presence in Russia with a new service to St. Petersburg. With the Breakbulk Forum the Port Authority hopes to secure the volume of cargo available in and around the St. Petersburg region, now and in the future.



About trade with Russia: Last year the total volume of freight carried between Antwerp and Russia amounted to 9 million tonnes. Around 60% of the total is carried between Antwerp and the Baltic coast of Russia, making this region the fifth most important for the port of Antwerp. The port of St. Petersburg in particular has developed into an important trading partner of Antwerp in recent years.


About the Breakbulk Forum: This is the second time that Antwerp Port Authority has organised such a Breakbulk Forum. The first was in London, producing positive reactions from participants. The Forums represent one of the undertakings of the Breakbulk Covenants, which in turn form part of the Total Plan for a More Competitive Port. Under the terms of the Covenants, signed at the beginning of this year, the Port Authority and the private companies within the port have pledged to attract new trade to Antwerp.