Largest European player in the African shipping trade

Wednesday 21 03 2018

During a trade mission to West Africa, Antwerp Port Authority together with 19 private companies renewed the links with major trade partners in this region. Commercial contacts were made, training agreements were signed and a Bike for Africa fund-raising campaign was launched.

The annual volume of shipping trade between the port of Antwerp and West Africa is around 15 million tonnes. Antwerp offers the largest number of direct connections to West Africa, making it the main gateway to Europe for that part of the world.


Dakar, shipping crossroads

The Senegalese port of Dakar generates an annual freight volume of 17 million tonnes and is ideally located at the crossroads of shipping routes between Europe and North and South America and between Europe and southern Africa.

Antwerp Port Authority and Dakar Port Authority (Port Autonome de Dakar) recently signed a five-year agreement for closer collaboration in various fields. APEC, the training subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority, will continue to be the preferred partner for training port professionals, while consultancy subsidiary PAI will assist Dakar in further developing its port activities. This comes just at the right time, as Dakar aims to develop a new port with a depth of 18 metres so that it can handle the very largest container carriers. In addition an area of 600 hectares is being reserved for an economic and logistical zone.


Douala, gateway to CEMAC

During a roadshow that toured Cameroon the port authorities of Antwerp and Doula signed a collaboration agreement for a period of five years.

Cyrus Ngo'o, CEO of the port of Douala, underlined the significance of this collaboration:"Antwerp is of strategic importance for West and Central Africa, and so we are very pleased to further strengthen our collaboration with this port. By sharing know-how and expertise our own port will gain more clout in a fiercely competitive environment." Doula is the leading port in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), with an annual freight volume of 12 million tonnes.

"With its cargo-generating capacity for fruit, timber and cacao Cameroon has huge potential for Antwerp, which has many players in these particular segments," declared port alderman Marc Van Peel. During the roadshow the networking event Club Afric was organised in Africa for the first time. Antwerp Port Authority holds an annual Club Afric evening on its own turf for members of the port community that do business with Africa. The Club Afric in Douala was a resounding success, with 200 participants.  


Cycling for Mercy Ships

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority, was one of the participants in Bike for Africa. This fund-raising event was organised by Brussels Airlines in favour of among others Mercy Ships which carries out surgical operations for the poorest of the poor. The participants covered 80 km per day, finishing in Douala with a visit to the largest hospital ship, the Africa Mercy.