The Antwerp Port Authority has announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) as part of China’s ‘one belt, one road’ strategic plan.
The partnership agreement, which was signed at the opening of ICBC’s first branch in Antwerp, is expected to strengthen the Port of Antwerp’s position in China by bringing investment opportunities related the port to the attention of Chinese investors and promoting the port’s business activities among the bank’s customers.
The ‘one belt, one road’ strategy, which was launched by China in 2013, aims to better link the country’s main industrial cities to commercial hubs across Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
The port claimed in a statement that Antwerp was identified as an important region within the framework of China’s strategy, adding that investment opportunities in the port represent an important source of collaboration.
The port’s chief commercial officer Luc Arnouts, who signed the MoU on behalf of the Port Authority, said in a statement: “Our efforts are directed at strengthening the positions of both sides as part of the One Belt One Road project.
“Antwerp is an attractive partner not only because of its location in the heart of Europe; its many overseas shipping connections make Antwerp a leading port at the western end of the modern ’Silk Road.’”
ICBC’s Antwerp branch is the second office being opened in Belgium by the Chinese bank, which already has an office in Brussels.
The port of Antwerp said in a statement that it has been making great efforts for a number of years to increase its market share in China, adding that the total volume of shipping trade with the country went up by almost 40% in 2015.