Antwerp has long been a pre-eminent breakbulk port for Europe.
Its comprehensive expertise in breakbulk is one of the port’s
signature features. To reinforce its leading 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
To highlight Antwerp’s breakbulk know-how, as well as its
range of shipping services and its strategic location within
Europe, Antwerp Port Authority organized a ‘Breakbulk Forum’ in
St. Petersburg on 20 October this year. 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 hightech
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
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 recognize 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.
Last year the total volume of freight carried between Antwerp
and Russia amounted to 9mt (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.
This is the second time that Antwerp Port Authority has
organized 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.