Contributed by: Don WinnerAntwerp Port Authority and Panama Canal Authority (ACP) have reconfirmed their collaboration agreement.
The purpose of the agreement is to promote trade between the port of Antwerp and the West Coast of South America via the Panama Canal. In view of the positive evaluation of the first agreement, made in 2010, the new agreement will run for a period of five years, after which it can be further renewed.
The first collaboration agreement, signed two years ago, was the first of its kind to be signed by the Panama Canal Authority with a European port. It covered among other things joint marketing initiatives, the exchange of market studies and the setting up of training programmes. Further, information was exchanged on the handling of very large vessels: a unique feature of both the port of Antwerp and the Panama Canal.
The collaboration between the two authorities has been evaluated as positive. For example, the new locks on the Panama Canal are based on the Berendrecht lock in Antwerp, the largest in the world. Also, the Panama Canal will use tugs for steering ships across the new lane that is currently being built. For this purpose the Panama Canal pilots followed training courses in Antwerp.
Trade with South America via the Panama Canal is very important for the port of Antwerp, amounting to some 4.7 million tonnes annually. Every week there are seven liner services passing through the Canal on their way to or from Antwerp. Furthermore the volume of trade between South America and Europe is expected to grow in the future, as the Canal is being deepened and widened to handle larger vessels.
The renewed collaboration agreement was signed by Administrator Jorge L. Quijano for the Panama Canal Authority and by CEO Eddy Bruyninckx and chairman Marc Van Peel for Antwerp Port Authority. (Dredging Today)