Antwerp Port Authority and its consultancy and investment subsidiary Port of Antwerp International (PAI) have signed a collaboration agreement with Enabel, the Belgian development agency, aiming to further the sustainable development of ports in developing countries.
Belgium’s development strategy involves finding and supporting suitable growth centres in particular countries while ports offer a particular attraction due to their role in the supply chain.
Enabel CEO Jean Van Wetter. “Shipping transport is an important factor in international development. The Port of Antwerp and Belgian development aid both concentrate a large part of their efforts on Africa.
“The annual volume of freight carried between West Africa and the port of Antwerp amounts to 15m tonnes. 13 out of Enabel’s 14 partner countries are located in Africa, and many of these have coasts with major ports. Making their port management more efficient, both on the import and on the export side, is therefore crucial for future-oriented, sustainable development.”
The Port of Antwerp has the highest number of direct services to West Africa, out of all the ports in North-West Europe.
Kristof Waterschoot, managing director of PAI, said: “Africa is a very important region for us, not only because of our market leader position but also because of the collaboration that we already have with various African ports.”
He sited the hub’s collaboration with Benin aimed at modernising the port of Cotonou, which has involved assuming temporary responsibility for the entire management of the port.
Waterschoot added: “This closer collaboration with Enabel will make it possible for us to provide further support for existing projects and to set up new agreements for potential collaboration arrangements. In this way we can transfer our expertise to ports in developing countries, ultimately enabling them to further develop themselves in a sustainable way.”