ANTWERP, Belgium and MONTREAL, Que.–The ports of Antwerp and Montreal have renewed their collaboration agreement for a further three years. The announcement was made jointly by both port authorities during the visit by Jean D’Amour, the Quebec minister for Transport and Implementation of Maritime Strategy.
The collaboration agreement was originally signed between Antwerp and Montreal, Quebec’s largest port, in 2013. This agreement runs until the spring of 2016, but the parties have now decided to extend it for another three years, said a release.
Since 2013 trade relations between the two regions have developed greatly. The first visit by a delegation from the port of Montreal followed soon after the initial signing of the agreement. The following year a delegation from Antwerp headed by port alderman Marc Van Peel travelled to Canada. Then at the beginning this year Philippe Couillard, Prime Minister of Quebec, paid a working visit to the port of Antwerp. And just before the summer Antwerp played host to another delegation from the port of Montreal.
Both ports are located deep inland on a major river, and both serve a vast hinterland covering many provinces and entire countries with huge purchasing power and major concentrations of industry. Furthermore, Canada as part of North America is one of the main “foreland” partners of Antwerp. In 2014 the total volume of freight carried between Antwerp and Canada was 4.5 million tonnes, the release stated.
The upcoming implementation of the trade agreement between the EU and Canada – the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) due to be ratified in 2016 – should give a major boost to this trade in the next few years.
A few weeks before the arrival of this last delegation Philippe Couillard presented Quebec’s new Maritime Strategy during a speech in Montreal. The strategy is aimed at creating employment, facilitating transport and logistics and promoting sustainable development of industry.
“Quebec is readier than ever to makes its expertise, well developed infrastructure and huge, expanding economic market available to its European partners,” declared Philippe Couillard on this occasion.