MANA International Group managed an interview with Antwerp authorities including Eddy Bruyninckx and Wilm Dillen, the chief executive officer and head of business development of Antwerp port, respectively. Established in eight centuries and located in Scheldt River, port of Antwerp has come to be an international hub in Europe. Taking advantage of 150.000 players along with 7 locks, 26 bridges, 48 docks, 86 terminals and 867 quays and 14 fictious berths in an area as big as 12.068 hectares, Antwerp is the biggest port in the world. The port with 80 kilometers inland within Europe, offers the fastest connection with the European hinterland. Furthermore, 208m tonnes of maritime freight volume in Antwerp port have made it the second-largest port in Europe after Rotterdam port. Finally yet importantly, it is possible for the ships to sail upriver with a maximum draught of 16 meters and downriver with a maximum of 15.2 meters
The market is contracted and there are many companies in shipping industry which face bankruptcy or loss. However, the ports seem to have a narrow escape from this situation. What is the position of Antwerp in this regard?
Exactly, we are the exception at this situation according to the last year statistics which showed growth of 5%. In container the growth reached 7.5% while the other ports located in northwest faced negative figures. In fact, we could improve our position in competitive area regarding the overseas business. In this regard, we tried to develop working on petrochemical business which is also important for the trade lanes especially between Iran and Europe. We could attract new investments in storage and we have local as well as international companies while we are open to any kind of partnerships. Besides the growth in container and petrochemical area, we would like to emphasize that Antwerp port is number one in the realm of general cargo in Europe for Iran and any conventional general cargo and project cargo.
What are your shares in the market in different realms of general cargo, container and the like?
We are number one in general cargo while Antwerp became the second best container port. According to the statistics, over 200 m tonnes of cargo was operated in this port and it is expected to hike up to 250m tonnes by the end of 2016.
Traditionally, Antwerp is the destination of Iranian cargo. On the other hand, Hamburg port is competing well in that area. What are your strategies to win Iran again?
First, I would like to draw your attention to the geographical location of Antwerp port which has made it an easy and the most accessible port even to the industrial area of Germany. Furthermore, our business development team is working hard on the strategies in next coming weeks for cooperating with Iran. The IRISL agency in Hamburg plays a role in this case. We have started the process and it requires interactions.
We have donre over four or five year studies to better know the customers and the factors that attract the shippers and also adapt ourselves to the requirements of shippers. By doing so, we have attracted more cargo.