Antwerp Port Authority

Antwerp Port Authority

Chairman

www.portofantwerp.be

The future holds many challenges for ports. During the last decade, the maritime and logistics sectors have been characterized by two main trends: the globalization of the economy, linked to the increase of world trade, and the rise of containerization and economies of scale in container ship-ping. The most important reaction has been by shipping companies, which have set up global alliances and completed a remarkable number of mergers and acquisitions. Shipping companies have become integrated transport companies. These trends have also affected the role of port authorities. In order to realize its main objective - defending the general interest of the community - modern port authorities must be considered as "facilitators" rather than operators.

Generally speaking, port authorities' strategic policy will remain the preservation and strengthening of the competitive position of the port. This includes the development of a diversified port economy, accommodating different activities. We believe this stimulates stability and creates synergies, thus strengthening the port's economic structure and attractiveness to customers. It is essential that the Port of Antwerp anticipates this trend and supplies the necessary infrastructure to accommodate traffic that offers prospects for growth.

Maritime companies will be willing to invest in a port only if long-term perspectives for a future sustainable growth exist. One of the challenges for port authorities is to devote increased attention to the development of the container trade and to the supply of additional logistical services. As a result, modern ports base their strategy on the explicit necessity to answer to the demands of shipping companies for additional handling capacity.

In addition, they will seek to guarantee a further improvement of the accessibility of the port, both on the maritime and the landside.