The Port of Antwerp celebrated the 10th Anniversary edition of its annual reception with one of the best Belgian captains of industry and Guest of Honour, Mr Wouter De Geest, Chairman of Flanders’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VOKA) and former CEO of BASF Antwerp, testifying as to why Antwerp Port is the ideal choice for a European hub and gateway.

The occasion also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Mr Sanjay Sethi, IAS, Chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), and Mr Kristof Waterschoot, Managing Director, APEC, to establish the JNPT-Antwerp Port Training & Consultancy Foundation as the “Port & Logistics Training Centre of Excellence”. This is an enormous milestone achieved which will enable the Centre to offer industry relevant courses with practical implications in the future, said a release. The first such course, on “Handling of Dangerous Goods”, was conducted at the Centre last week by Mr Kurt Van Passen, an expert of the Port of Antwerp, together with the Belgium Customs Attaché, Ms Babette Desfossez.

The facility will now be a Centre of Excellence for the maritime sector in India, for Indian and international port and logistics professionals, it was highlighted.

Mr Wouter De Geest, in his address, emphasised that among the strategic priorities for Antwerp Port in 2020 are mobility, sustainable growth, safety and security, operational excellence, and the continuing transition to a new era. He highlighted some of its salient features as location, maritime and industrial clusters with all the technical services that are around, as well as innovation.

He also pointed out that the port delegation had a fruitful meeting with Shipping Minister, Mr Mansukh Mandaviya, in Delhi during this trip.

Mr Kristof Waterschoot said that the successful partnership of the JNPT-APEC Training Centre is being renewed with the signing of the MoU, the aim being to upgrade the facility and create a Centre of Excellence.

Mr Sanjay Sethi stressed that the JNPT-APEC Training Centre has been hugely beneficial and that the Centre of Excellence will be enhanced in scale and scope to play a nodal role for all kinds of training and intellectual exchange, with a wide range of programmes. The Centre has the potential to become a very significant institution which all stakeholders can become part of, he added.

He also made the point that new technology can be best used at ports to optimise the trade.

Earlier, Mr Luc Arnouts, Vice-President, International Relations & Networks, Port of Antwerp, shared an overview of the port’s steady performance in 2019 and reassured the audience of the port’s ever growing interest in India. He said the port had its seventh record year in a row in 2019 with 238 million tonnes of cargo handled, encompassing nearly 7 per cent growth each in containers and dry bulk. The top 3 ports for Antwerp in India are JNPT, Mundra and Hazira, with the leading products being containers, metal products and petroleum products, he added.

With Antwerp being the centre of three upcoming global conferences this year, the IAPH Global Port conference during March 17-19, the Antwerp XL during April 21-23 and the JOC Container Trade Europe during October 20-22, Ms Malini Dutt – India Representative of the Port of Antwerp, invited the logistics and maritime community to visit Antwerp and explore possibilities of collaboration between India and the Port of Antwerp business community, the release added.

Posted By Exim News Service.