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duisport and Port of Antwerp-Bruges agree long-term partnership

  • Cooperation on energy transition, hinterland connections and infrastructure
  • Further step in the expansion of the European Future Network

High-ranking representatives of duisport and Port of Antwerp-Bruges signed a long-term cooperation agreement yesterday. duisport CEO Markus Bangen and Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, sealed the far-reaching partnership in the presence of Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Transport, Oliver Krischer, as well as the Deputy Mayor of the City of Antwerp and President of the Board of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Annick De Ridder, attended the event, as did Josef Hovenjürgen, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry for Home Affairs, Municipal Affairs, Building and Digitization of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

At the heart of the agreement is the expansion of cooperation in the areas of energy transition, rail and hinterland connections, and port infrastructure. All three areas are of outstanding importance for the reliable supply of industry and the stabilization of supply chains between Germany and Belgium and within Europe.

Supply chain for hydrogen

The European energy system will increasingly focus on sustainable energy sources, with green hydrogen carriers playing a crucial role. The development of solutions for the import, storage and distribution of green hydrogen in various forms is therefore one of the main strategic pillars of the cooperation between the two ports. The goal is to build an international supply chain for hydrogen in which both partners become central hydrogen hubs for Europe.

To achieve this goal, duisport and Port of Antwerp-Bruges want to establish a high-frequency rail shuttle in addition to planned pipeline connections and establish rail as a “rolling pipeline”. The expansion of the hinterland network, the promotion of sustainable multimodal transport connections, and the steady shift to environmentally friendly modes of transport are substantial for the realization of the energy transition.

As both ports aim for climate neutrality by 2050, the development of environmentally friendly port handling equipment is also part of the joint agreement.

Expansion of the Future Network

For duisport, the cooperation with Port of Antwerp-Bruges is another important step in the expansion of its future network. Similar agreements were already concluded with the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam in May and June of this year.

“Our ports have a key role in their regions as leading logistics and industrial centers and are already linked by various multimodal connections. Against the background of the current global challenges, it is only logical that we sustainably strengthen our European partner network and cooperate even more closely,” says duisport CEO Markus Bangen.

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: “To realize the ambitious plan to become a climate neutral continent, we have to guarantee the European industry reliable and secure access to renewable energy sources. The import, transmission and distribution of green molecules needs short, mid and long term solutions. Developing a robust multimodal supply system will be fundamental to make the change happen. And we are pleased that duisport and Port of Antwerp-Bruges are combining forces to that end.”

 

ABOUT PORT OF ANTWERP-BRUGES

With a total throughput of 289 million tons per year, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is an important hub for global trade and industry. The port is an important link for the handling of containers, general cargo and the transshipment of vehicles. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to 1,400 companies and is home to the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe. The port provides directly and indirectly for a total of 164,000 jobs and a value added of 21 billion euros.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges has a clear goal: to become the first port in the world to balance economy, people and climate. The port aims not only to continue its growth trajectory, but also to leverage its unique position as a logistics, maritime and industrial platform to lead the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy. Together with the port community, customers and other partners, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is actively seeking innovative solutions for a sustainable future. Responsibility for the environment, and therefore for society, is high on the agenda.

The Antwerp and Zeebrugge port sites are operated by the Antwerp-Bruges Port Authority, a limited liability company with the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges as shareholders. The port company employs 1,800 people. Antwerp’s deputy mayor Annick De Ridder is chairman of the board and Bruges mayor Dirk De Fauw is vice chairman. Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for day-to-day operations.

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Crisis-proof and fit for the future – Strong figures in challenging times: duisport Group reports positive annual results

  • Earnings up by 33.1 percent
  • Sales up by 18.9 percent
  • Container turnover remains at record level
  • Investments of over EUR 42 million

The duisport Group continued to perform successfully in the second year of the Covid pandemic, proving that it is crisis-proof and fit for the future. Although the 2021 financial year was strongly shaped by the effects and restrictions surrounding the third and fourth waves of the pandemic as well as globally disrupted logistics chains and a massive shortage of raw materials and preliminary products, duisport’s broadly positioned business model delivered a convincing performance with clearly noticeable resilience. Against this background, the increase in earnings of more than 33 percent with an increase in sales of almost 19 percent is all the more impressive.

“We’ve held our course in stormy times,” says CEO Markus Bangen, who took office on August 1, 2021, and has since provided a great deal of internal and external impetus for the further development and modernization of the Port of Duisburg. “The positive results in 2021 are the outcome of trusting teamwork, open dialog, and above all the outstanding commitment of all our colleagues at duisport. The entire Executive Board would like to thank them once again. After all, without their tireless efforts – whether it’s in the office, at home, at the terminals, or in our halls – we would not have been able to maintain our operations,” says Bangen.

Sales and earnings significantly increased

At EUR 346.8 million, the duisport Group’s sales in 2021 were significantly above the previous year’s figure of EUR 291.7 million – an increase of 18.9 percent. This also clearly exceeded the forecast of EUR 315 million. As a result of the increased sales, the EBITDA improved to EUR 54.6 million (2020: EUR 44.3 million). The result before taxes is EUR 29.5 million, which is thus above the previous year’s value of EUR 22.3 million. The annual net profit after tax grew by 33.1 percent from EUR 14.2 million to EUR 18.9 million.

Container turnover remains at record level

In the 2021 financial year, container turnover rose again slightly by 2 percent to around 4.3 million TEU (previous year: 4.2 million).

Total cargo turnover remains stable

Last year, the duisport Group handled a total of 58.2 million tons of goods by ship, rail and truck. All the ports of Duisburg together handled a total of 111.1 million tons (previous year: 110.4 million tons).

Developments of the four divisions

In the Infrastructure and Superstructure business segment, the duisport Group generated revenues of EUR 55.6 million, therefore exceeding the same level of the previous year (2020: EUR 53.6 million). This is attributable to new leases as well as lease revisions.

In the area of Logistics Services, sales increased by an impressive 35 percent to EUR 116.7 million (2020: EUR 86.4 million). The decisive factors for this development include further significant increases in the forwarding services of duisport agency GmbH, the expansion of activities in Poland, and the expansion of the project business of duisport consult GmbH.

The Packing Logistics business segment achieved a sales volume of EUR 94.6 million in 2021, having generated revenues of EUR 86.4 million in the previous year. However, the pre-Covid level of EUR 102.0 million from 2019 has not yet been regained.

Contract Logistics generated sales revenues of EUR 29.5 million (2020: EUR 33.8 million). The drop is primarily associated with the expiry of the contract with a long-standing major customer at the end of 2020. However, new activities were able to partially compensate for this.

In addition, the duisport Group generated miscellaneous sales in the amount of EUR 18.1 million (2020: EUR 1.5 million), primarily resulting from the sale of a building.

Investments secure the location’s appeal

In the second year of the pandemic, duisport again increased its spending on property, plant and equipment and financial investments, investing a solid EUR 42 million (2020: EUR 38.6 million). On top of this, EUR 14.1 million was invested in maintenance work on the infra- and superstructure of the Port of Duisburg. A total of EUR 56.6 million was thus invested in increasing the performance of duisport in 2021. 

Goods traffic with China continues to grow

Goods traffic with China also continued to develop favorably. In 2021, over 2,800 shipments were handled via the New Silk Road, which corresponds to an increase of twelve percent. The TEU volume, which had skyrocketed in 2020, not only continued at a very stable level in 2021, but actually rose by 26 percent. This was in no small part due to improved utilization of the trains in both directions. On average, there were around 60 arrivals and departures per week in Duisburg, with over 70 at peak times.

Impact of the Ukraine war

The extent to which this development will continue largely depends on the ongoing war in Ukraine. So far, trains arriving in Duisburg from China via Russia, Belarus and Poland via the New Silk Road have largely been running on schedule. Yet some customers have reduced their bookings or switched shipments to maritime transport. A reliable prediction regarding further developments cannot be made at present. In general, train transports to and from China are an important and, so far, growing business area of the duisport Group, but they are also only a sub-segment.

Moreover, against the background of the war and the support of Belarus, the Executive Board, the Supervisory Board and the shareholders decided in March of this year to terminate all business activities in Belarus. duisport will withdraw from both the minority interest (0.59 percent) in the international development company of the Great Stone Industrial and Logistics Park and the shareholding in Eurasian Rail Gateway CJCS (38.9 percent), which has planned the construction and operation of a bimodal terminal. A representative office in Minsk has already been closed.

National and international investments

The duisport Group continued to hold investments in a variety of operating companies at home and abroad in 2021, including in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, and China. In 2021, Duisburger Hafen AG acquired a shareholding in the Port of Trieste. This way, the duisport Group will strengthen its presence there and will benefit in future from the flow of goods from the Mediterranean region to Europe.

“Our geographical location and connection in the middle of Europe is a unique selling point that we will continue to reinforce,” announces Dr. Carsten Hinne, who has completed the duisport Executive Board since January 2022 and is primarily responsible for the expansion of the international network. “Shareholdings such as the one in Trieste strengthen the Port of Duisburg’s function as a logistics hub. duisport is providing support there in the development of logistics chains and flows of goods on the north-south axis and is sharing its expertise in the development of logistics areas – similar to the logport areas in and around Duisburg,” continues Dr. Hinne.

Focus on infrastructure, digitalization, and sustainability

At the main location in Duisburg, the focus in the coming months will be on modernizing the port infrastructure. “We’re investing massively in the renewal and new construction of roads, rails and bridges so that we can make our internal traffic and handling processes faster and more efficient. At the same time, this will further relieve the burden on the neighboring residential areas,” says Prof. Thomas Schlipköther, Chief Officer for Construction, Technology and Operations. This applies not least to the connection of the future Duisburg Gateway Terminal (DGT) – the largest container terminal in the European hinterland, which will be operated on a completely climate-neutral basis.

In doing so, the duisport Group is sending out a clear signal for sustainable business and climate protection. The world’s largest inland port takes its responsibility seriously, is constantly working to optimize its contribution to environmental protection and provides sustainable transport concepts for this purpose. At the start of 2021, the Group drew up a corresponding environmental strategy. This comprises the four fields of action of Modal Shift, Air, Noise and Climate, Energy Supply, and Resources. The aim is to develop the Port of Duisburg into a central hinterland hub for green hydrogen, ammonia, methanol and liquid CO2 in the future. This will also help offset the declining volumes of coal and the expected declining volumes of mineral oil in the course of society’s overall withdrawal from fossil fuels.

Central energy and logistics hub in Europe

So, despite the current crises, Markus Bangen is looking to the future with confidence: “At the moment, it’s almost impossible to make any reliable forecasts about the rest of the 2022 financial year. The Ukraine war and the enormous hike in energy prices have severely clouded the mood in the German economy as a whole. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that the duisport Group will emerge from this crisis in a strong position and that we’ve already taken the right steps in many areas to position ourselves as modern and fit for the future. In doing so, we will continue to reinforce the position of the Port of Duisburg as a central logistics and energy hub in Europe in the long term.”

War in Ukraine: The Port of Duisburg ceases all business activity in Belarus

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