Following their tour of India, Antwerp port delegation sees growth of trade with India to be fast tracked
Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) is what Julius Caesar wrote after one of his quick victories. It could well be the present refrain of the Port Authority of Antwerp following their triumphant visit to India from February 4th to 8th last week. They made stopovers at Chennai, Ahmedabad and Mumbai and met a wide section of the business communities including exporters, shipping lines, custom house agents, freight forwarders, shipping and port companies, those from the logistic sector and who do business with their port.
Port of Antwerp which handles all types of cargo including containerized, break bulk, liquid bulk from India has regular sailing between various Indian ports and Antwerp. These include Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, New Mangalore and Vishakhapatnam. Marc Van Peel, the Chairman of the Port Authority of Antwerp & Vice-Mayor of Antwerp City who led the delegation during this annual visit to India informed, “The cargo handled from India has already exceeded 5.5 million annually. Increasingly, Indian products and consumer goods are entering the European markets these days. We expect a tremendous growth in cargo from India in the future. Ours is one of the European main ports and has free capacity, infrastructure and expertise to be India’s fastest route to Europe.”
With a strong customer focus the delegation made a forceful bid to encourage new businesses to the Port, consolidate their relationship with its present clientele and sought collaboration of partners in India. According to sources, the response was more than expected.
Last year Essar Ports Limited (“Essar Ports”), one of the largest private port companies of India, entered into of a long-term strategic alliance with Port of Antwerp International (“PAI”). The latter made an investment of approx. $ 35 million in Global Depository Shares of Essar Ports. This venture is for collaboration in the areas of training, consultancy services, port planning, traffic flow, quality and productivity improvement, and will further build a mutually beneficial commercial relationship based on mutual business and investment preferences. Both Essar Ports and PAI have agreed to mutually assist in the growth in the volume of their businesses.
Another unique major initiative for expanding the horizons of the partnership, the port and the city of Antwerp is organizing an exclusive exhibition in November this year in the City of Mumbai. Called the ‘Masterpieces from Antwerp’ the exhibition will feature exclusive 17th century paintings. According to Marc Peel this will be a large collection of paintings, which are masterpieces from the Flemish Masters. It will be Antwerp’s largest event to be exhibited in India. This is a statement from the Port of Antwerp to India that the Port has a very long term commitment and interest in India.
Some of the other prominent members of the high level delegation were Cathy Berx, Governor of the Province of Antwerp, Eddy Bruyninckx, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority, Luc Arnouts, Chief Commercial Manager, Ann De Smet, Customer Service Officer, Warner Cruyssan, Customs Attaché in the Belgian embassy, besides other port officials and representatives from six Belgium-based logistics companies.