PSA Antwerp invests in expansion of breakbulk capabilities

PSA has invested heavily in its Breakbulk Terminal in the port of Antwerp in the past few months. The terminal operator has added several new cranes to increase its steel handling capabilities. 

The company has purchased tailor-made gripper arms for the treatment of steel coils. This eliminates the need for forklift trucks and minimizes the risk of damaging the steel products.

PSA also bought five Liebherr mobile harbour cranes at the terminal, three LHM 280 cranes with a lifting capacity of 83 tonnes and two LHM 550 cranes with a lifting capacity of 144 tonnes. These cranes have already been operating at the terminal for a while but were previously leased from Liebherr.

In May, PSA’s Breakbulk Terminal also received a new mobile Mantsinen 300 crane with a lifting capacity of 85 tonnes, bringing the total number of cranes at the terminal to eight.

Photo: PSA Antwerp

Declining volumes

Antwerp is the largest steel port in Europe, although volumes have been taking big hits for the past two years. In the first quarter of the year, conventional breakbulk volume in the port dropped a staggering 27.8% compared to the same period last year. In 2019 conventional volumes already fell by 18%.

According to Port of Antwerp, the decline in volume is caused by the trade war between the US and China which saw President Trump put in place import tariffs on steel and aluminium, of which Antwerp’s conventional breakbulk volume is largely made up. This year, the Covid-19 pandemic adds extra pressure on the already problematic situation for the local breakbulk industry in the port.

Author: Koen Mortelmans

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