ANTWERP, Bel.–One week after a delegation from the port of Montreal visited Antwerp, the port is getting ready for yet another visit from North America. On September 22 a large delegation with representatives from among others the ports of Montreal and Quebec will be paying yet another visit to Antwerp, this time accompanied by a political representative.
The Canadian interest in Europe is hardly surprising, as the EU is the country’s second-largest trading partner. For the port of Montreal it is actually the largest market. Antwerp is one of the largest ports with which Montreal trades. The close relationship between the two ports was further strengthened with the signing of a collaboration agreement in spring 2013, said a release.
With an annual shipping volume of 26.5 million tonnes of freight, North America is the most important trading partner of the port of Antwerp. Last year Canada accounted for 4.5 million tonnes of this volume, or 17%. The implementation of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will undoubtedly give this trade a big boost in the coming years. Not surprisingly, the agreement was one of the main topics of discussion during the recent visit by the Montreal delegation. During a seminar that was well attended by Canadian and Antwerp shipping professionals, various experts zoomed in on the agreement which once it is implemented will sweep away nearly all import duties. This is expected to happen some time in 2016.
According to the release, Antwerp is anticipated to do very well out of the agreement, given its close trading relations with North America. Until then the two ports of Antwerp and Montreal will continue to develop their collaboration in order to obtain the necessary commercial benefits. Since the signature of a collaboration agreement in March 2013 the two ports have exchanged regular visits with a view to reinforcing their commercial network. Last week the port of Antwerp brought representatives from the ports of Montreal and San Pedro into contact with one another, in order to examine whether Antwerp could act as a hub for transatlantic trade destined for Africa.