On June 2, Belgium’s Antwerp Port Authority signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Port of Caofeidian in China to collaborate in the framework of the “One Belt One Road” project in which China seeks to connect its main ports and industrial cities more closely with crucial trade centers elsewhere in the world including Europe.
In an effort to further boost trade between them, the two parties intend to investigate the possibility of establishing a rail connection between Caofeidian and Antwerp.
Additionally, shipping transport is expected to be improved thanks to the introduction of a regular liner service.
The agreement also provides for port professionals from Caofeidian to follow a training package later this year developed specially by APEC-Antwerp/Flanders Port Training Centre, the maritime training institute of the Port of Antwerp.
Finally, the two ports plan to carry out mutual promotion and exchange of information.
The One Belt One Road (OBOR) project was announced in autumn 2013 with the aim of improving transport connections between Chinese ports and industrial centers on the one hand and trade centers in Asia, the Middle East and Europe on the other. The project comprises a rail aspect which roughly follows the same route as the ancient Silk Road, and a maritime aspect that also covers South-East Asia and countries around the Indian Ocean.
Situated in the North of Bohai bay, Caofeidian handled last year 260 million tonnes of freight including 36 million tonnes of steel. Antwerp is said to be the largest steel port in Europe.
The volume of steel carried between Caofeidian and Antwerp is between 500,000 and 700,000 tonnes per year.