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More fruit shipments directly to Port of Antwerp

Brazilian melons direct to Port of Antwerp this year

During the Fruit Logistica, the Port of Antwerp was present to show which activities they, and its companies, do in the field of fruit and vegetables. It was recently announced that they have secured a banana contract. Besides, more types of fruit are entering the Port of Antwerp. The various companies who were present are all active in the fresh produce sector, and they are also united in the Perishables Expertise Group (PoA).

Please click here to find out more about the expertise centre and its members.

More bananas in containers
During a special press breakfast on Thursday 9 February, Maartje Driessens presented the growth results of the Port of Antwerp and the cooperation with various companies from the fresh produce sector, such as Dole, Greenyard and BFV. “The Port of Antwerp experienced a considerable increase of regular services of fresh products. Just in 2016, 9.02 million tonnes of reefer volume was handled, which resulted in a TEU increase (container unit) of 6.1 per cent compared to the previous year. Until a few years ago, the regular services for fruit, such as bananas, were transported as bulk volume, but the increased containerisation means that bananas are increasingly shipped in refrigerated containers.”

The boat that called at Antwerp for the first time a few weeks ago, for Greenyard’s new banana contract, is part of the new North Europe French West Indies Service (NEFWI) line from CMA CGM. They  directly connect the French Antilles with Antwerp, and they also bring bananas from Surinam and other neighbouring countries.

Direct melons from Brazil
“This summer another expansion was introduced in one of the existing lines: the South America East Coast/North Europe line from shipping companies MSC & Hapag-Lloyd. This is a direct line to Antwerp, and the Brazilian Port of Pecém will be added to this line as of this year. The expansion of the service is of particular interest to the melon exporters, because transports will be synchronised with the most important harvest time. Transit time to Antwerp is ten days. We therefore hope many melons will arrive through the Port of Antwerp,” Maartje says.

Maartje (left) and Stefanie during the press breakfast - FL 2017.

New reefer container ship
In December 2016, a new reefer ship, Seatrade Orange of the Africa Express Line, made its first voyage to Antwerp. “The Seatrade Orange arrived at EuroFruitPorts and is the first complete reefer container ship with a capacity of 2,249 TEU. Additionally, it has access to more than 674 reefer plugs. It transports fruit from West Africa to Europe, and mostly takes back frozen products such as chips, fish and meat. AEL is planning to build a number of new reefer container ships which will be used for the transport of fruit to Antwerp.”

Crowds - FL 2017.

Antwerp Cold Stores
One of the latest acquisitions of the Port of Antwerp is the company Antwerp Cold Stores. They opened a new, modern facility for cold storage in March 2016. The surface is 32,000 m2, which means that it has place for 8,000 pallets with frozen products and 7,500 pallets with products for ‘regular’ cold storage. This year will see an additional cold store expansion of 24,500 m2.

The BFV (Belgian Fruit Auction) is planning to build a logistics centre in Vrasene, just outside of Antwerp. In future, the fruit shipped through the Port of Antwerp will be sorted, stored and packed at the new location. Various facilities will be built. Eighty per cent of all fruit handled in Vrasene are pears meant for India, China and North Africa. It concerns a volume of 20 to 25,000 tonnes per year.

Digital document for organic bananas
From April 2017, a new digital certificate will be introduced for the import of organic bananas in Europe. This certificate comes from a customs project of the Port of Antwerp, its objective is to simplify the importation of organic bananas. To that end, the port is cooperating with Dole. Both companies tested whether the paper certificate could be replaced by a digital and quicker version. Belfruco, the Peruvian customs, the Belgian customs and the Flemish Ministry of Agriculture were all involved in this project. 

For more information:
Maartje Driessens
Business Development Manager
Havenbedrijf Antwerpen NV
Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerpen, Belgium 
+32 3 229 65 98

Publication date: 2/17/2017


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