A delegation representing the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, is planning to visit the Port of Houston, Texas, U.S.A., to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and thus further strengthen the trade relations between the two regions.
The Port of Antwerp says that there are striking similarities between the two ports, with each being home to a very large petrochemical cluster.
The future of the European petrochemical industry now that the development of among other things shale gas in the United States has expanded so dramatically will be under the spotlight of a seminar in Houston. According to Wouter De Geest, chairman of Essenscia (Belgian federation of the chemical industry and life sciences), integration is key for the future.
“The chemical cluster is well aware of this challenge,” De Geest said.
“The response of the European petrochemical cluster must lie in even greater integration throughout the chain of value, and the development of products in proximity to the customer. The more integration is pursued within Europe, the greater the development opportunities for the petrochemical cluster.”
Under the terms of the MoU the ports will exchange information about, among other things, customs and security procedures. They will also collaborate in marketing and business development, and a commercial event will be held each year, alternating between Antwerp and Houston. Finally, the programme will include participation in the annual Breakbulk Americas conference.
After Houston the delegation will head for Atlanta, where the ports of Savannah and Charleston send large cargo volumes to Antwerp. This will be a first meet for the ports, which will be organised in the form of workshops and networking events.