True to its annual tradition the port of Antwerp organized a trade mission to India in February this year. Port Authority chairman Marc Van Peel was accompanied on his visit to Delhi and Mumbai by Pieter De Crem, the Belgian secretary of state for Foreign Trade. The agenda included, among other things, the annual Port of Antwerp reception, the presentation of an award to the Indian forwarders’ association and the opening of a new course offered by JNPT APEC Port Training Centre that was set up in Mumbai last year in close collaboration with APEC, the Antwerp training centre for maritime professionals.
PRESENCE IN INDIA
The Port of Antwerp has been investing for several years now in strengthening collaboration with the Indian business world and local authorities. As well as the annual visit, Antwerp has its own permanent, full-time representative in the port city of Mumbai, as part of a series of measures to raise its profile in India. These efforts have been successful, as trade between India and Antwerp has grown over the past years to just over five million tonnes annually.
In 2012 the port of Antwerp went a step further in establishing its presence in India when Port of Antwerp International, the international consulting and investment subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority, signed a strategic alliance with Essar Ports Limited, one of the largest private port operators in India. The alliance was wound up in the
middle of last year. Thanks to this operation the Port Authority not only made a substantial capital gain but was also able to gain a great deal of commercial know-how concerning the Indian port world. It also led to further agreements for both PAI and APEC.
Further development of these agreements, in particular with JNPT APEC Port Training Centre, was one of the main points on the agenda of the trade mission this year.
ANTWERP’S TRAINING EXPERTISE
On 16 February Marc Van Peel and Pieter De Crem together with JNPT chairman Anil Diggikar attended the official opening of the course entitled Strategy, Policy and Business Development in Mumbai. This five-day course focused on, among other things, the role played by the port in relation to the surrounding region and the importance of good relations between port authorities and terminal operators.
Later that day the annual Port of Antwerp reception was held, at which Van Peel presented an award to the chairman of FFFAI, the Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India. “The success of the Port of Antwerp in India is the result of interaction with a large number of players, in particular the local ones. We therefore wish to thank the partners who have supported us from the very early days, for their devotion to Antwerp. FFFAI has played this role for us in a large number of Indian cities, from Chennai to Ludhiana,” declared Van Peel.