The Belgian port of Antwerp has signed a twinning agreement with its Chinese counterpart, the port of Guangzhou, that will see the two ports strengthen collaboration.
The twinning agreement dovetails perfectly with the philosophy of “One Belt One Road” that was announced by China in the autumn of 2013.
The project aims to improve connections between the main Chinese industrial cities on the one hand and trade centres elsewhere in Asia, the Middle East and Europe on the other. It includes a “rail track” that roughly follows the route of the ancient Silk Road together with a “shipping track” that includes South-East Asia and the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean.
Currently there are two shipping services between North-West Europe and China calling at Guangzhou and Antwerp. By developing a joint marketing approach the respective port authorities aim to get both ports included in several more loops.
Other action points in the twinning agreement include the exchange of information on port development and best practices for sustainable enterprise in a port environment.
The ports of Guangzhou and Antwerp already signed a collaboration agreement back in 2010 for the transfer of skills and know-how under the auspices of APEC, the training subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority.
Since then leading maritime professionals from Guangzhou have received tailor-made training in Antwerp. As a result, Guangzhou in collaboration with APEC and three other partners is setting up a joint training institute under the name of Guangzhou-Antwerp Port Training & Consultancy Co. Ltd. This training centre will offer courses in port operations for professionals from Asia, Africa and Latin America.