Spain wins the first battle in London to collect the bill for the ‘Prestige’ spill

The ‘Prestige’, after splitting in two off the coast of Fisterra in November 2002.
M. G.

The final litigation for the damages of the Prestige enters its final stretch. More than two years after the Court of A Coruña issued the order for the tanker framework to pay for the damages caused by the oil slick of the old monohull, the British courts have dismissed the appeal filed by the insurance carrier, London P&I Club, against the Supreme Court ruling that required the company to pay compensation of 885 million euros (billion dollars, the amount of the policy subscribed by the shipowner).

This blow to the environment of the ship that in November 2002 broke in two off the coast of Fisterra with 77,000 tons of fuel on board places Spain closer to recovering part of the 2,355 million in losses. The case will continue in the courts of London, since that is where the insurance company of the Prestige have its headquarter.

The insurer filed an appeal against the execution of the sentencea, but Judge Christopher Butche, in a sentence handed down yesterday and that advanced Expansion, has denied it. The magistrate concludes that the London P&I Club should have continued the judicial battle in the Spanish courts if, as it assures, their fundamental rights had been violated in the process and a situation of defenselessness had occurred. During the oil slick trial of the Prestige, held in A Coruña and lasted for nine months, the insurer did not appear in order to avoid a judgment against it. Despite being civilly responsible, his presence in the process was not necessary and, finally, he got rid of the sentence.

Judge Butche refuses to go into the merits of the matter, understanding that it was already addressed by the Spanish Justice and declares unable to reach a similar conclusion which the insurer intends to assert, which alleged that a petition for annulment before the Supreme Court was useless because “he would never have changed his mind.”

Damage exceeds 2,000 million

Despite the damage caused by the sinking of the Prestige exceed 2,000 million, the maximum amount at which will be accessible will be one billion dollars, since it is the amount of the policy subscribed by the oil tanker’s shipowner.

Almost 19 years after the greatest ecological disaster in Spain, the case Prestige It has not yet reached judicial port and continues its journey in the British courts to settle the payment of the damage bill.

After this first legal battle fought by Spain in the courts of London, the process is still open and the Prestige insurer has the possibility of filing a new appeal against the judgment of the British courts. In addition, it keeps two other procedures open to force a international arbitration, since – it alleges – it is what the contract with the oil tanker prescribed.

In one of the lawsuits, according to the newspaper Expansión, the insurer it even claims 1,440 million from Spain for the persecution that he claims to have suffered to claim the costs of the ecological disaster.


Joanne Anderson, black woman and mayor of a big city: a UK first

It claims to be a “left socialist”. At 47, Joanne Anderson, the first black woman elected directly mayor of a large city in Great Britain, is also the first female city councilor of Liverpool, birthplace of the Beatles in the metropolitan district of Merseyside (north-west of England). After the municipal elections of Thursday, May 6, this discreet woman about her personal life succeeds her namesake, Joe Anderson, mayor from 2012 to 2021. The latter, also Labor, leaves his post on suspicion of financial embezzlement and award of contracts public. An investigation is underway.

“Rebuilding Confidence”

As soon as the results were announced, Joanne Anderson promised to « rebuild trust ”. “Liverpool has always been a city that does things differently and chooses its own path. Today we are making history ”, she said. With 59% of the vote, having promised accountability and transparency, she is ahead of an independent, Stephen Yip, (ex-member of Labor) who gathered 40.8% of the voters.

During the campaign, the people of Liverpool did not hide their annoyance with Labor, not enough left for their liking. In fact, if the city resisted, during these elections, the conservative push in the cities of the “red wall”, traditionally Labor, other citadels of Labor were broken down by the conservative party of Boris Johnson.

Former European Capital of Culture

Herself a native of Liverpool, from the oldest black community in the country, Joanne Anderson, did not come from the political seraglio. A single mother, she is preparing to lead a town of some 500,000 inhabitants traumatized by the health crisis. In October, Liverpool recorded the highest death rate from the coronavirus in the country, and was the first city placed under very severe confinement.

The new city council will also have to find ways to revive the economy of the city, once one of the largest ports in the Empire – 40% of British trade – before falling victim to the deindustrialization of the 1970s. decked out with a bad reputation, Liverpool drags an image of a metropolis undermined by industrial decline, the ultra-liberalism of the Thatcher years and mass unemployment. In 2008, elevated to the rank of European capital of culture, it began its rebirth.


35 million vaccinated with the first dose in Britain

British health authorities said today, Friday, that two-thirds of adults in the United Kingdom have now received the first dose of the emerging coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine, as rapid vaccination operations continue across the country as they aspire to reopen more of their economic activities, according to the agency. Bloomberg News.

More than 35 million people have been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine so far, and a second dose has been given to 16.7 million of them, according to the latest government data, Bloomberg said.

The country has already offered to vaccinate everyone over the age of forty, and is now planning to vaccinate young people, whose risk of contracting the disease is low but there is still a risk of transmission.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization recommended that people under the age of 40 years receive a vaccine other than “AstraZeneca” due to concerns that extremely rare blood clots are more likely among young people after receiving the vaccination.


Doctors detect the first cases of immunized infected with COVID-19 – Information – 05/07/2021

Exclusive content

The note you are trying to access is exclusively for subscribers

Subscribe me

Know our plans
and enjoy El País without limits.

Pay in

If you are already a subscriber you can
enter with your username and password.

Get COVID-19 despite being immunized is a possibility. Doctors of the first and second level of care began to detect a series of isolated cases of people who were infected with COVID-19 after reaching immunity, that is, having the two doses and waiting the 14 days necessary to be protected against virus.

It is treated in the majority of people who had or are experiencing the disease with mild or moderate symptoms, medical sources reported to El País. They warned that there are records of infected people who were immunized with Sinovac -the majority- and even a few who did it with Pfizer.

This is the case of Martín (not his real name), a 28-year-old doctor who contracted coronavirus 20 days after having administered their second dose of the North American vaccine. The young man, who specializes in Internal Medicine, and who today has mild symptoms, said that he does not know how he was infected, since he usually uses his protective equipment in consultations or when he is on duty.

Even Martín, who also keeps track of infected patients, had to attend to some who became infected after being immunized with Sinovac. For him, getting sick after having been vaccinated “is within the probabilities”, since vaccines “do not really prevent 100% of the infection.”

His case, along with that of others in the same situation, is closely followed by the authorities of the Ministry of Public Health (SMEs). The hierarch of this portfolio, Daniel salinasHowever, he told El País last night that “there are few daily cases in percentage in vaccinated with two doses and 15 days.”

The Secretary of State pointed out that “the important thing is that by achieving the increased vaccination, the hospitalizations in ICUs and deaths ”. He added that this “will be achieved” but “it will take a while”, since the Brazilian variant P1 “played against”.

In the same vein they were in the Honorary Scientific Advisory Group (GACH), where they understand that the cases registered so far “are within what can happen”, given that “no vaccine is” 100% effective. ” A source assured that, even, “if you have a 95% effective vaccine, in 1,000 cases there will be 50 that can be infected.” “Nothing new under the sun,” concluded the informant.

On the subject, the infectologist and grade 5 of the Chair of Infectious Diseases of the University of the Republic referred this week in his account of the social network Twitter, Julio Medina, who called on those who become ill after 14 days after their second dose to “not minimize symptoms.”

In this sense, he wrote: “The sminimal respiratory intomas they can be COVID-19. In fact, this is what we are seeing, including some cases in health personnel, “said the infectologist who told El País that he is carrying out a” registry limited to some institutions “on this type of situation.

The associate professor of Infectology, Susana Cabrera, agreed with Medina that vaccinated people should rule out the disease at the slightest suspicion: “There is a cold, keep testing; there is a close contact, to test too ”, he pointed out. For the infectologist there is still “a lot of viral circulation”, which is why she pointed out that “we have to break down the myth” that with the two doses one can relax in the care.

Cabrera indicated that without a doubt “serious cases will begin to decline”, however, “the probability of acquiring the infection exists, more with Sinovac, which has less protection.”

The Chinese Sinovac is 67% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 according to a recent investigation carried out in Chile. At Pfizer the figure climbs to 97%, according to a study done in Israel.

Based on this it is that for the immunologist Álvaro Díaz the infections of those already vaccinated are to be expected more in those who received Sinovac that Pfizer: “It is in total agreement with the levels of antibodies that are generated” in both, he told El País. The expert added that it is expected “a shower of mild and moderate cases in vaccinated.”

Being vaccinated “is not a license to kill,” concluded the immunologist, referring to the fact that these can infect people who have not yet been immunized.


Sevilla FC | But what did you do ‘Papu’? First Ocampos catches him and then his wife

The ‘Papu’ Gómez He has been an unexpected protagonist in social networks after his partner and compatriot Lucas Ocampos has recorded him picking up a courier package in the middle of República Argentina avenue. So far so good, But what is striking about the anecdote? Well, he did it dressed in the Sevilla FC kit and knee-high socks included.

Ocampos approached him by car, probably after training, and he could not suppress the desire to record it with his mobile while he laughed at such a scene in which you can see the ‘Papu’ running towards the store and walking out with a big package seconds later.

But the thing has not stopped there. To make matters worse, the wife of ‘Papu’ also recorded him in her own home dressed in the Nervionian equipment while washing the bowls of mate. “What are you doing, sir, dressed like this at home? “The woman wrote as she approached from behind to the surprise of the Sevilla footballer. In short, the Argentine was the protagonist by force on Instagram with Ocampos and his wife as improvised ‘paparazzi’.


Repsol leaves behind the red numbers due to Covid and earns 648 million in the first quarter | Companies

Repsol has left behind the losses that accompanied it during the year of the pandemic. The company led by Josu Jon Imaz has achieved a profit of 648 million of euros in the first three months of 2021 that contrast with the red numbers for 487 million registered in the same period of the previous year, since it has been driven by the recovery in crude prices.

And it is that, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic caused in 2020 a collapse in world demand and the prices of reference raw materials that led Brent to record minimums of $ 15 per barrel in April of last year and to a average price for the year of 41 dollars. On the other hand, between January and March 2021 the average price of Brent has increased to 61 dollars per barrel and has allowed stocks to revalue, while that of Henry Hub gas stood at 2.7 dollars per MBtu, similar to the previous quarter.

For his part, adjusted net result, which measures the evolution of businesses discounting the variation in the value of inventories and extraordinary items, stood at 471 million euros, 5.4% above the equivalent period of 2020 thanks to the Exploration and Production and Chemical areas . In addition, all businesses obtained a positive operating cash flow, which for the Group as a whole amounted to a total of 1,030 million euros.

Likewise, Repsol highlights that in the first three months of the year has managed to reduce its net debt by 326 million euros (representing 5%) to reach 6,452 million. For its part, liquidity reached 8,456 million euros, which represents 2.93 times the short-term maturities. Additionally, in order to strengthen its financial position, the company closed in March an issue of subordinated bonds for an amount of 750 million euros.

By business areas, Exploration and Production contributed a result of 327 million euros, compared to 90 million in the same period of the previous year (+ 263%) thanks to the combination of cost adjustments, the optimization of operations and the rebound in the average prices of hydrocarbons compared to the first three months of 2020, which was 22% for Brent and 35% for Henry Hub. In addition, it achieved that its realization prices for crude oil and gas performed better than the international benchmark, with an increase between January and March of 23.4% in the case of crude oil and 41.7% for gas.

The area Industrial, for its part, achieved a result of 73 million euros, compared to 288 million in the first three months of 2020 (-74.6%), weighed down by the negative impact of Covid-19 on international market conditions. Specifically, the Chemicals, Wholesale and Gas Trading areas performed positively, while Refining obtained low margins and suffered from stoppages in activity. In addition, the area is being affected by the uncertainty generated by the energy transition, which will require projects and investments to meet the decarbonization objectives.

The area of Commercial and Renewables reached a result of 101 million, which is -16.5% less than the 121 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020. More in detail, restrictions on mobility and the effects of the storm Filomena at the beginning of the year contracted by 14 % demand for the quarter at service stations, although Renewables and Generation performed well, as did Lubricants, which increased their volumes sold.

An oil company in transformation

Repsol is in a moment of transformation after presenting its strategic plan for the period 2021-2025 in which it foresees investments of 18,300 million euros of which 30% (5.5 billion) will go to low-carbon initiatives. The new plan sets emission reduction targets, with a reduction in carbon intensity of 12% by 2025, 25% by 2030 and 50% by 2040

In this sense, during the first months of the year Repsol has launched various industrial transformation initiatives that allow it to advance in the energy transition and collaborate in the economic recovery of the country. 40% of investments in the quarter went to low-carbon projects.

In this sense, Repsol made progress during the quarter in transforming its industrial facilities into hubs multi-energy, capable of generating products with a low, zero or even negative carbon footprint. The company will invest in its refineries in Spain to move towards decarbonisation. Investments in Cartagena stand out, where work began for the construction of the new advanced biofuels plant, the first of its kind in Spain. In recent months, the 3D design of the facilities has begun, making progress in engineering projects and in the purchase of new equipment.In 2021, 66 of the 188 million euros planned for the project will be invested.

In relation to renewable hydrogen, a clear growth vector for the company, at the end of January 2021 the H24All project, a consortium led by Repsol to develop Europe’s first 100 MW alkaline electrolyzer plant. Likewise, Petronor and Repsol lead another relevant hydrogen project, the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, BH2C, announced on February 22. More than 78 organizations participate in it, it will mean an investment of more than 1,300 million euros until 2026

Repsol has a portfolio of 31 projects, with a total associated investment of 6,359 million euros, in the framework of the calls for expressions of interest for European Next Generation funds carried out by the Government.


Sky Pool, the transparent pool that puts London at your feet

  • The 25-meter-long structure is located on the 10th floor between two buildings in the exclusive Nine Elms neighborhood.

  • The pool will open on May 19 with a synchronized swimming exhibit and is exclusively for residents

The popular film by Mario Casas and María Valverde ‘Three meters above the sky’ spoke of that feeling of being in love … as if you were floating in the air. A sensation very similar to that experienced by users of Sky Pool, a transparent pool 35 meters … above ground in London.

The Sky Pool -literally, “the pool of the sky” -, is an aquatic structure 25 meters long and 5 meters wide, which It has been placed between two buildings in the exclusive neighborhood of Nine Elms, to the southwest of the British city. The 3.2 meter deep pool will open on May 19. Unfortunately, only residents of the apartment complex where it is located, called ‘Embassy Gardens’, will be able to access it.

A work of engineering

The promoters of the idea have dubbed it “the world’s first floating pool.” The project has been in development since 2013, by the Eckersley O’Callaghan group of engineers, based on the idea of ​​the apartment builders, Ballymore and Arup Associates. It is located at the height of the 10th floor of the residential complex and, as it is transparent, it will allow swimmers to see life at ground level and pedestrians the sky, when they pass below.

Placement of the Sky Pool.GETTY

The structure is made of acrylic resin, with walls 20 centimeters thick and 30 centimeters at the bottom. The total length of the pool is 25 meters, supported by a steel structure, but only 14 meters correspond to the ‘floating’ part. Thus, the lighting and filtering system and the access stairs remain out of sight for the curious observing from below.

More than 6,000 miles of travel

The structure’s journey to reach London has also been a long one. Manufactured by the Reynolds company, in Grand Junction, Colorado, United States, for endurance tests it was moved to Galveston, Texas. That is, more than 1,300 miles (2,090 kilometers) by road. Later, crossed the pond by boat for three weeks to Antwerp, Belgium, and from there to the port of Tillbury, east of London. More than 6,000 miles (9,990 kilometers) in total. The transparent skeleton of the pool was placed at the end of September 2020, with the help of a crane.

The pandemic has also contributed to delaying the inauguration from the Sky Pool, as it should have opened last summer. The opening party at the end of May will include a synchronized swimming exhibition and will feature DJ Ronan Kemp.


Wall Street, between the highs and the correction after the first 100 days of Biden | Markets

This week marks 100 days since Democrat Joe Biden landed in the White House. Three months after his victory in the November 3 elections, the Democratic candidate was sworn in. Since that moment, the markets, which in the years of the Trump Administration had become accustomed to living by tweet, have had new catalysts that have allowed the three Wall Street benchmarks to revalidate their all-time highs, a trend that seems to have slowed down in recent weeks, a period in which investors have taken the opportunity to consolidate gains.

Although the correction has been a generalized trend on both sides of the Atlantic in recent sessions, in the US it is favored by the president’s announcement of raising taxes. Investors are trying to digest Biden’s proposal to increase the top marginal income tax rate from 37% to 39.6%, as well as doubling capital gains taxes to 39.6% for people earning more than one million dollars.

This announcement, together with the rebound in yields in the debt market, led the Dow Jones to correct 1% from the highs recorded on April 16. In the same period, the S&P 500 fell 1.2%, while the Nasdaq, which reached highs in February, has fallen as much as 10%. The cuts do not prevent the three indices from continuing to accumulate a positive balance so far in 2021. Until yesterday the Dow Jones rose 11.2% in the year, rises that reach 11.5% for the S&P 500 and the 9 , 4% in the index that groups the large technology groups. In the 100 days of Biden’s mandate, promotions reached 10% and 6.8%. The Dow Jones, which in the Trump era did not stop revalidating new historical heights, has gone with the flow. In addition to setting new records, it has managed to overcome the barriers of 32,000, 33,000 and 34,000 points for the first time in its history with Biden at the helm of the Executive.

The biggest correction suffered by the Nasdaq, which rose 43.6% in 2020, is due to three reasons. In addition to the rebound in debt yields, Patricia García, an analyst at Macroyield, points out the rotation of portfolios towards the securities most linked to the economic cycle. In the toughest months of the pandemic, growth firms – or to stay at home, such as Netflix or Amazon – experienced a strong revaluation, but in recent months the market has begun to “discount that the main effects of the pandemic could remain back and that the economic recovery will be the one that takes center stage ”, explains the expert.

In the midst of this scenario, the greater regulation that the Democratic Party intends to implement is favoring the taking of profits from the star Stock Exchanges in the year of the pandemic. Biden has taken advantage of the first 100 days of his term to carry out some of his star proposals of the electoral campaign. Along with the $ 1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plan approved by Congress in March, last month the president of

The United States unveiled the main lines of its infrastructure program, a project with which it aims to revitalize the country’s infrastructure, promote employment and accelerate the transition to clean energy. The plan, valued at more than two trillion dollars – equivalent to 10% of GDP – has great advantages, but it will also involve a substantial increase in spending that will have to be covered with the issuance of more debt

–Scope Ratings forecasts that public debt in relation to GDP will increase by six percentage points by 2023 and reach 135% -140% of GDP in 2025– as well as with the rise in taxes. In addition to the previous levies, Biden wants to introduce a minimum rate to companies of 28%. Big tech is on target.

Experts believe that carrying out the measures will not be easy, because although the Democrats control both houses, they do so for the minimum in the Senate. Juan José Fernández-Figares, director of analysis at Link Securities, believes that, although investors have welcomed the announcements, as the details become known Wall Street could reverse the trend. “Increases in taxes for individuals and companies are not usually well received by investors because they weigh down business results, penalize hiring and investment and make it difficult for companies to finance,” he says. In other words, the strength shown by the main indices and their ability to revalidate the brands could be numbered.

One of the incentives that helped Dow Jones reach 20,000 points in the first days of Trump’s term was the expectation created by the Republican tax reform. The tax cut for businesses and families helped boost growth and until the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, the US managed to chain 121 months of expansion since the 2008 recession, the longest period of growth in its history.

Another possible shadow that could accelerate the correction in equities is related to inflation and growth expectations. The acceleration of the economic recovery, a process favored by the vaccination program, has been celebrated by the market. But it carries the danger of a rise in prices and its impact on the debt, something that is already being seen. The US bond started the year below 1%, a barrier that it surpassed on January 6 for the first time in nine months after confirming the victory of the blue wave in the Georgia elections. But the increases did not stop there and on March 31 the yields on the debt due in 2031 rebounded to 1.74%, a movement that was viewed with fear as many investors began to discount an increase in interest rates. The Fed wanted to settle the fears and has reiterated its commitment to keep monetary policy unchanged. In recent months, the divergence between members of the central bank has increased, but the majority still do not plan to touch rates until at least 2024. Although this has served to keep financing costs under control (the bond stands at 1 57%), doubts remain. The latest survey of Bank of America managers revealed that with a 10-year bond at 2% the stock market could fall as much as 10%, a level that firms such as Citi or Goldman Sachs expect it to reach by the end of the year. This increase in profitability occurs in a context marked by the increase in public and private debt. In mid-April, the public debt of the United States exceeded 28 trillion dollars, an amount well above the more than 19.5 trillion dollars registered in January 2017 when Donald Trump disembarked in the White House.


First fall in agricultural exports to the United Kingdom after Brexit

The effects of Brexit in the Region have already been felt in the agricultural sector. The first data that have been published by the Ministry after this ‘divorce’ with Great Britain show that the export of Murcian fruits and vegetables to the island has fallen by 19.2% from January to February of this year. Up to this point, the British had not stopped demanding our products. It breaks with an upward trend that, despite the pandemic, caused agricultural exports to increase by 6.77% in 2020.

Agriculture continues to be one of the most important sectors for the Region in terms of foreign trade. After the division of the United Kingdom from Europe, the Murcian agricultural sector has greater difficulties for its products to reach Anglo-Saxon supermarkets.

Even so, the Association of Producers-Exporters of Fruits and Vegetables of the Murcia Region considers the agreement reached by the European Union for this type of products to be positive. If it had not been carried out, this body estimates that the customs duties would have amounted to an additional 61 million euros per year.

This free trade agreement guarantees that no goods from the European Union that intend to enter the British market have to pay tariffs. In the same way, no British product will pay to enter any EU country.

The difficulties that Murcian agri-food products now face are of an administrative nature, since since January 1, 2021 they are considered as a product from a third country, and they have to comply with all current regulations in Great Britain , some procedures that were not necessary before.

According to the first data just published by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Murcia’s exports of fruit and vegetable products to this country have fallen by 19.2% in January and February compared to the same period last year.

A quite significant drop if we take into account that, in 2020, despite the pandemic, the Murcian agri-food sector increased its exports to the United Kingdom by 6.77% compared to the previous period. Horticultural products represented more than 62% of what the English demanded last year.

This drop could also be due to the closure of non-essential businesses decreed throughout the United Kingdom at the beginning of January this year. Last Monday the restrictions were lifted for these establishments, which had been in force for more than three months continuously.

From that moment on, the country’s bars and restaurants have resumed their activity, although, for now, they will only be able to offer their services on terraces. The resumption of restoration could increase the demand for Murcian agricultural products in the country.

No health certificates

The collapse of these first two months could have been accentuated as of April 1, 2021, the date by which it was planned that European agri-food products that crossed the British borders would be required to present a phytosanitary certificate. Fortunately, on March 11, the British Government announced that it would delay the measure until January 1, 2022.

The drop in exports has also occurred in reverse. The fruit and vegetable products that the Region of Murcia buys from the Anglo-Saxon country are usually much lower than the amount they demand. For the first time in a long time, the Region did not import any British product belonging to these sectors in January 2021.

We will have to wait a few months to analyze whether this situation is on the way to consolidating over time. Future trade relations with Great Britain are mainly in the hands of the European Union, since it is in charge of jointly negotiating matters related to the foreign trade of the 27 countries that now comprise it.

The trade balance, despite everything, is positive for the Region

Exports from the Region of Murcia increased (in the total sum, despite the fall in the fruit and vegetable sector) by 2.2 percent in the first two months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020 (-6.6 per percent in Spain), which makes it the only autonomous community that produced a positive figure, according to data released by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism and collected by Europa Press.

Specifically, exports in the Region reached 1,730.7 million euros, while imports fell by 18.2 percent (-11.1 percent in the rest of the country), to 1,450.2 million euros. .

In this way, the trade balance of the Region of Murcia showed a surplus of 280.5 million euros, 455.7 percent more than between January and February 2020. This is the second largest decrease, after Andalusia (459, 4 percent), in the evolution of the country’s exports.

In the analysis of the contributions to the interannual variation rate of total exports, the Region of Murcia contributed positively with 0.1 percentage points, which represents 3.9 percent of the total and a growth of 2.2 interannual, according to the report.

Foreign trade data for the months of January and February are explained by a 3.7 percent decrease in chemical products, which totaled 193.9 million, as well as the food, beverages and tobacco sector (-1.3 percent to 869.1 million), while sales abroad of energy product goods rose (10 percent to 408.2 million).

On the other hand, imports registered a decrease in energy products (-26.2 percent to 826.7 million euros) and food, beverages and tobacco (-13.4 percent to 235.1 million), while Chemicals increased 6.8 percent to 126.9 million.


Port of Antwerp holds its own in the first quarter

Port of Antwerp holds its own in the first quarter

For the coming time it remains to be seen what consequences the incident in the Suez Canal will have. The port of Antwerp is preparing as far as possible for heavily used terminals, the operators said. According to the information, container throughput grew in the first quarter by 0.6 percent (tons) and 2.3 percent (TEUs) compared to the first quarter of 2020. The last year had started strong and then a downturn due to the first effects of the pandemic in March 2020 experienced. “In January 2021, the strong performance of autumn 2020 continued, although a number of operational challenges hampered the operation of the container terminals.”

The corona crisis led, among other things, to container ships reaching the port of Antwerp with long delays. The cold spell in February also had a negative impact on container handling, the consequences of which lasted into March. And the incident on the Suez Canal will lead to further delays in the calls of container ships in the second quarter.

The general cargo segment recorded the best quarter since the second quarter of 2019. The handling of iron and steel, the most important group of goods in this segment, increased by 18.2 percent. This is due to a peak in the supply of steel, which can in part be explained by new import quotas that went into effect on April 1st. In RoRo handling, however, the strong last quarter in 2020 could not be surpassed – compared to the first quarter of 2020, a status quo can be noted for both new and used vehicles. The handling of dry bulk cargo has meanwhile increased by 6.6 percent. In addition to an increased handling of non-ferrous ores and scrap metal, the growth was above all in the handling of fertilizers (+ 40.7 percent). “Never in the past ten years has such a large amount of fertilizer been handled in a single quarter,” said the port.

As a result of the incident in the Suez Canal, the port of Antwerp expects a higher utilization of the terminals in the coming weeks. “The port of Antwerp, together with the shipping companies and the container terminals, is following the situation very closely in order to determine where space can be created for shipping containers.” Terminal are allowed to stand. In addition, it will be examined how the use of storage capacities in Germany can be optimized and how inland shipping and rail can be used more intensively. The focus here is on close and comprehensive cooperation with the entire supply chain in order to make the best possible use of the available capacities.

“Last year we faced several disruptions in the global supply chain: Corona, Brexit, the Suez incident … In these challenging times, the port of Antwerp is proving its agility and resilience. The global spread across different shipping areas, the large storage capacity and the professionalism and efficiency of the Antwerp port community are the building blocks for our success, ”said Jacques Vandermeiren, managing director of the port.

As the second largest port in Europe, the port of Antwerp is an important lifeline for the Belgian economy: More than 300 liner connections to over 800 destinations enable global networking. Around 231 million tons of international sea freight are transported annually in the port of Antwerp. The port is a limited company; the city of Antwerp is the sole shareholder. The port employs over 1,600 people. (red / sc)