In 2020, for another consecutive year, the port of Antwerp was the European port that exchanged most containers with Brazilian ports, thus reinforcing its leadership position and logistical importance for the international trade between Europe and Brazil. Likewise, Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, remained the main trading partner of the port of Antwerp in the region
Container flows between Antwerp and Brazil
According to statistical data from Brazil’s National Agency of Waterborne Transportation (ANTAQ), the total container flow between Antwerp and Brazil registered a 2% increase in 2020, overcoming the mark of 248.000 teus. Of this total, more than 156.000 teus (63%) were loaded at the port of Antwerp, the rest, approximately 92.000 teus (37%), were European imports from Brazil, which before being distributed across the old continent, first arrived in Antwerp.
Obviously, these numbers correspond to a portion of the commercial relations between Brazil and Europe in the current globalized world, but the presence, or the participation, of Antwerp in the Brazilian exports, dates back to other times. It is historical and centuries old.
It is located in the city of Santos, the oldest preserved physical evidence of the Portuguese colonization in the Brazilian territory. It is the National Monument of the ruins of the sugar mill “Engenho dos Erasmus”, built-in 1534. Its construction was a joint initiative of Portuguese colonizers and the Flemish entrepreneur Erasmus Schetz, who was originally from the city of Antwerp, and whose objective was to export Brazilian sugar to Europe through the ports of Santos and Antwerp.
According to historical records, the sugar mill operated under the administration of the Flemish family until the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century.
Back to the present day, where sugar from sugarcane remains on the top list of Brazilian products imported into Europe, the volume of containerized cargo being discharged in Antwerp from Brazil represents a bit more than a third of the total volume. In turn, the containers loaded at the port of Antwerp account for almost two-thirds of this total, or in other words, the great majority.
Among the containerized cargo discharged at the port of Antwerp in recent years, the polymers, the wood in different forms, coffee, tobacco, auto parts, rubber tires, the sugar itself, and the different parts of industrial machinery are the products that stand out the most.
The Brazilian ports that most ship containers to Antwerp are:
1st Santos (coffee, sugar, auto parts, steel products, industrial parts),
2nd Rio Grande (polymers, tobacco, rubber tires),
3rd Paranaguá (wood, wood products, and paper)
In the opposite flow, the containers loaded at the port of Antwerp to Brazil, mostly carry plastic products, auto parts, rubber products, steel products, machinery, and its parts.
The ports in Brazil that most discharge containers from Antwerp are:
1st Santos (plastic products, rubber products, steel products, and auto parts),
2nd Paranaguá (auto parts, steel products, and plastic products),
3rd Navegantes (plastic products, food, and alcoholic beverages)