Panama Canal, Antwerp Sign Cooperation Pact

Panama Canal, Antwerp Sign Cooperation Pact

The Panama Canal Authority and the Antwerp Port Authority signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday that is the first of its kind between the Panama Canal and a European port.

The MOU, which is similar to the numerous agreements between the Panama Canal and North American port authorities, is designed to boost commercial activity between the two maritime authorities.

The MOU was signed by Panama Canal Authority Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta and Antwerp Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx.

By The Numbers: North America - Europe Eastbound Container Trade.

The MOU will increase cooperation, such as joint marketing and coordination on modernization and expansion projects, and help boost trade between the Port of Antwerp and the West Coast of South America via the Panama Canal.

Additionally, the Port of Antwerp is equipped with a post-Panamax locks system that operates with rolling gates (similar to the ones that will be built with the expanded Panama Canal) and uses tugboats to position the vessels instead of locomotives.

“This MOU differs from previously signed port agreements, because it allows us to exchange information with the Port of Antwerp regarding ship handling techniques for larger vessels that are unique to both the Port and the expanded Panama Canal,” said Aleman.

We share a common interest in researching the proper use of tugboats, ensuring safe and efficient lockage operations without the use of locomotives, as well as carrying out cross-training activities for pilots and tugboat captains on large vessels and extensive ship simulation exercises,” he said.

The MOU may also include exchange of market studies and technological interchange of advanced capabilities and programs.

-- Contact Peter T. Leach at pleach@joc.com.