FIRST OF ITS KIND AGREEMENT WITH A EUROPEAN PORT
AIMS TO FOSTER COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY AND ENABLE EXCHANGE OF BEST PRACTICES FOR LARGE VESSEL HANDLING
ANTWERP, Belgium, September 7, 2010 – Today, Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta and Antwerp Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly help foster commercial activity between the two authorities.
The first of its kind between the ACP and a European port, the MOU will increase cooperation, such as joint marketing and coordination on modernization and expansion projects, and help boost trade between the Port of Antwerp and the West Coast of South America via the Panama Canal.
Additionally, the Port of Antwerp is equipped with a post-Panamax locks system that operates with rolling gates (similar to the ones that will be built with the expanded Panama Canal) and uses tugboats to position the vessels instead of locomotives.
“This MOU differs from previously signed port agreements, because it allows us to exchange information with the Port of Antwerp regarding ship handling techniques for larger vessels that are unique to both the Port and the expanded Panama Canal,” said Mr. Alemán Zubieta. “We share a common interest in researching the proper use of tugboats, ensuring safe and efficient lockage operations without the use of locomotives, as well as carrying out cross-training activities for pilots and tugboat captains on large vessels and extensive ship simulation exercises.”
The MOU between the ACP and the Antwerp Port Authority may also include exchange of market studies and technological interchange of advanced capabilities and programs.
“The Port of Antwerp, the second port in Europe, has regular connections with more than 500 ports around the world, 300 of them on a weekly basis. Antwerp has strong maritime links with the West Coast of South America,” said Mr. Bruyninckx. “More than 3 million tons of cargo and eight weekly liner services pass through the Canal. The widening of the waterway is of great importance, and a substantial growth in trade with the Americas is expected. This MOU intends to support this growth by mutual exchange of knowhow and expertise.”
Today’s partnership launch reinforces the mutual commitment to excellence in service and to continued measureable benefits for both Panama and Belgium.
About the Antwerp Port Authority (APA)
The Antwerp Port Authority is an autonomous municipal port company, governed by a board of directors and an executive committee. APA has its own powers of decision and policy making and is allowed to develop partnerships and conclude cooperation agreements with other companies and government departments. For more information – www.portofantwerp.com
About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s Web site: www.pancanal.com. You can also follow the ACP on Twitter: http://twitter.com/thepanamacanal.