Port Authority aims for further close links with China, sets up “Circle of Friends”

Chongqing, 25 October 2011 – On the occasion of the trade mission to China headed by Prince Philip of Belgium, Antwerp Port Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chongqing Port & Navigation Administration Bureau. With this agreement the two parties undertake to regularly exchange information, develop joint marketing and promotion activities, and attract investment to each other’s port and city. As of the beginning of May this year Antwerp and Chongqing are already linked by a rail freight service run by the intermodal operator Hupac. With the agreement that was signed on Tuesday the two cities are taking their collaboration a stage further.

Circle of Friends
During the trade mission Antwerp Port Authority also launched a new initiative aimed at further promoting the links of trade and friendship with China, the “Circle of Friends.” The Antwerp port community seeks in this way to thank its Chinese partners for the good collaboration over the past few years. At events in various Chinese cities, Chinese business relations were officially presented with the Circle of Friends certificate. Special networks and events are being organised by members of the Circle of Friends, with the aim of maintaining good contacts in future and promoting fruitful collaboration. “We consider it an honour to include representatives of Chinese local authorities and leading companies in our Circle of Friends. In this way we hope to build up long-term relations of friendship with China,” declared port alderman Marc Van Peel. The initiative is supported not only by Marc Van Peel but also by the Belgian ambassador to China Patrick Nijs and the Chinese ambassador to Belgium Liqiang Liao. More information can be found at www.portofantwerp.com/circleoffriends.

Antwerp as a hub for Europe, West Africa and North and South America
With the rail connection an efficient link between Antwerp and Chongqing is assured. But that’s not the end of the story: Antwerp also seeks to promote itself strongly as the hub for a very wide hinterland, covering not only the surrounding regions but also the whole of Europe, West Africa and North and South America. In other words, goods destined for China from different parts of the globe will be concentrated in Antwerp and then sent to China by rail. The goods may arrive in Antwerp by rail, barge, shortsea or deepsea. Antwerp will act as a hub in the opposite direction too. Thanks to its location deep inland, Antwerp is the ideal gateway to Europe for China and other countries in the Far East, offering them easy access to the continent's largest concentration of purchasing power. The growth markets of central and eastern Europe too belong to the natural hinterland of Antwerp. There are numerous shipping links between China and Antwerp, and from Antwerp there is a vast range of possibilities for onward transport to the rest of the world.

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