Seaports - freight traffic

  • Traffic Flemish seaports 3% lower than in 2019

    In 2020, just under 309 million tonnes of goods were loaded and unloaded at the 4 seaports in Flanders. This is 3% less than in 2019.

    The Port of Antwerp is the largest port with 231 million tonnes of goods shipped to and from the port in 2020. This is 3% less than in 2019. In the years before, the port almost always experienced growth. This growth was only briefly interrupted during the economic crisis of 2008-2009.

    The Port of Zeebrugge is Flanders’ second largest seaport. In 2010, Zeebrugge processed a record amount of goods. Since then, it has seen its freight volume decline. Since 2018, however, traffic has increased again. In 2020 it was 3% higher than in 2019.

    At the end of 2017, the Port of Ghent merged with Zeeland Seaports (the Dutch ports of Vlissingen and Terneuzen) to create the 'North Sea Port'. As a result, the Port of Ghent now goes by the name 'North Sea Port Flanders'. The graph only shows the figures for the Ghent portion of activities of the merged port. The traffic in the North Sea Port Flanders was 10% lower in 2020 than in 2019.

    Ostend is the smallest of the 4 seaports in Flanders. Freight traffic figures there have fallen since 2008. In recent years, the port has presented itself as a distribution centre for the construction and maintenance of off-shore wind farms in the North Sea.

  • Mostly containers in Antwerp and Zeebrugge, dry bulk in Ostend and Ghent

    Not every port loads and unloads the same types of goods. Traffic in the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge largely consists of containers. Ghent and Ostend mainly process dry bulk. In Ghent, a large part of the dry bulk is iron ore that is supplied for a large steelworks.

    Roll-on-roll-off traffic is very important for the Port of Zeebrugge. In addition to ferry traffic, this also includes the traffic of new cars: a wide range of car manufacturers uses this port as a hub for their car distribution operations.


Mobility Council Flanders (Mobiliteitsraad Vlaanderen): Statistics Flemish ports 


Roll-on-roll-off traffic: rolling loads such as cars or trucks.

Publication date

31 August 2021

Next update

March 2022

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