Belgian Antwerp Port Authority has signed a partnership agreement with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) following the bank’s decision to expand its presence in Belgium.
With this agreement the Port Authority and ICBC plan to seek new opportunities that match the One Belt One Road strategic plan launched by China in autumn 2013, through which it aims to link its main industrial cities more closely to commercial centres elsewhere in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
As part of this collaboration ICBC will bring the port of Antwerp and related investment opportunities to the attention of Chinese investors, as well as promote the port’s business activities.
“Our efforts are directed at strengthening the positions of both sides as part of the One Belt One Road project,” Antwerp Port Authority chief commercial officer Luc Arnouts said.
“Antwerp is an attractive partner not only because of its location in the heart of Europe; its many overseas shipping connections make Antwerp a leading port at the western end of the modern ’Silk Road.’ Antwerp is also an important partner for China from the strategic point of view, thanks to the various collaboration agreements with ports or regions along the New Silk Road,” he added.
The port of Antwerp has been making great efforts for a number of years now to increase its market share in China, the authority said.
In 2015 the results of these efforts were clearly reflected in the freight figures, as the total volume of shipping trade with China rose by nearly 40%. This rise in the volume of freight is largely due to a 60% increase in imports from China.