Antwerp Port Authority has signed a collaboration agreement with Shahid Rajaee Port Authority, which controls the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
Bandar Abbas accounts for 90% of the ingoing and outgoing containers of Iran and for nearly half of the 200 million tonnes of freight handled by the 11 ports in Iran. The new Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the headquarters of the Ports & Maritime Organisation in Tehran, responsible for managing these 11 ports. It runs for an initial period of five years.
Antwerp Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx, who signed the agreement on behalf of Antwerp Port Authority, said: “Today we are restoring our trading relations with Iran, a country with great economic growth potential that is also a gateway to neighbouring countries. Antwerp is perfectly situated to support the further growth of the trade with this country.”
Until 2010 Antwerp was the most important European destination port for Iranian cargo, before sanctions were applied. Then in March this year the Iranian shipping company IRISL returned to Antwerp with the first container ship since sanctions were lifted. Container traffic, breakbulk and bulk freight are expected to expand rapidly in the next few months.
The MoU will involve, among other things, the respective port authorities exchanging information on statistics and port development projects, as well as collaboration in the field of training. With its training subsidiary APEC, the Port of Antwerp has its own institute specialised in giving tailor-made training courses.
The port of Bandar Abbas plays an important role within its region for the supply and handling of liquid bulk and crude oil. The petrochemical cluster in Antwerp is the largest in Europe, and the liquid bulk sector for its part accounted for 67 million tonnes out of the total of more than 208 million tonnes of freight handled in Antwerp last year.