The Port of Antwerp in Belgium handled nearly 117 million tonnes of freight (116,812,921t) in the first nine months of 2009, a drop of 19.1% on the same period last year.

In the first nine months of 2008, 144 million tonnes of freight were handled at the port, reports.

Port of Antwerp CEO Eddy Bruyninckx said volumes seem to have stabilised in the past few months.

“In the third quarter the amount of shipping freight has remained the same and we suspect that this trend will continue for the remainder of the year. At the moment there are not enough signs for an economic revival in the last quarter of 2009,” Bruyninckx said.

The port reported a 16.2% drop in bulk freight, with 42 million tonnes handled in the first nine months of 2009.

This drop was mainly due to the fall to the decline in dry bulk, which was down by 38.7% to 12.8 million tonnes, the news service said.

The container volume at the port dropped by 17.4% from more than 78 million tonnes last year to 65 million tonnes in the period January to September 2009.