Antwerp, 18 September 2012 – Jan Van der Borght, who has represented the port of Antwerp in Shanghai since 2008, has been presented with the Silver Magnolia Award. The prestigious award is presented to foreigners based in Shanghai who have made a notable contribution to the economic development of the city and its international relations. This is the first time that the award has gone to a port representative, something that Jan Van der Borght is particularly pleased about: “The Award is recognition of the efforts that we have made to strengthen collaboration between Shanghai and Antwerp, so as to promote the further development of the Chinese port city,” he declared.
The Magnolia Awards are an initiative of the Foreign Affairs Office in Shanghai and are presented annually in recognition of foreign residents who have made an outstanding contribution. The last time that someone from Belgium won a Magnolia Award was in 2009.
This year the honour fell to Jan Van der Borght who as port representative has been working for some time now to raise the name recognition of the port of Antwerp in China, in particular the Shanghai region and southern China. Among other things he is the main force behind the Port Days organised regularly in China by Antwerp Port Authority. “It was difficult for us to begin with: we had to find the right people and work out the best way of approaching them. But now I see that our efforts are starting to bear fruit and that our reputation is opening doors that previously remained closed to us,” says Van der Borght. He has also helped to build up the Chinese-Antwerp Circle of Friends, a business network in which port people from China and Antwerp are able to keep in touch by virtual means.
The port of Antwerp has been working hard for years to raise its name recognition in China. Among other things the port sponsors the World Shipping (China) Summit, the “Davos” of the shipping world. Antwerp Port Authority Eddy Bruyninckx and Chief Commercial Officer Luc Arnouts are currently both attending this event, being held this year on 19 and 20 September in Xiamen.