Belgium’s Antwerp Port Authority has signed a collaboration agreement with Shahid Rajaee Port Authority which controls the port of Bandar Abbas in Iran.
Bandar Abbas accounts for 90% of the in- and outgoing containers of Iran and for nearly half of the 200 million tonnes of freight handled by the 11 Iranian ports put together, according to the Port of Antwerp.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the headquarters of the Ports & Maritime Organisation in Teheran which is responsible for managing these 11 ports. The agreement runs for a period of five years, after which it can be renewed.
Eddy Bruyninckx, who signed the agreement on behalf of Antwerp Port Authority, said: “Today we are restoring our trading relations with Iran, a country with great economic growth potential that is also a gateway to neighbouring countries. Antwerp is perfectly situated to support the further growth of the trade with this country.”
Antwerp was the most important European destination port for Iranian cargo until 2010 , before sanctions were applied. Then in March this year the Iranian shipping company IRISL returned to Antwerp with the first container ship since sanctions were lifted. Not only container traffic but also breakbulk and bulk freight are expected to expand rapidly in the next few months, the Port of Antwerp said.
Under the terms of the MoU the respective port authorities of Antwerp and Bandar Abbas will exchange information on statistics and port development projects, as well as collaborate in the field of training.
In order to bring a number of Antwerp companies in contact with the Iranian market, Antwerp Port Authority organised a port seminar immediately after the signing of the MoU.
In addition to the usual freight categories of containers, dry bulk and breakbulk the seminar focused on the petrochemical cluster in Antwerp.