Antwerp eyes post Brexit opportunities
(Posted on 03/09/19)
The newly appointed British ambassador Martin Shearman has visited the Port of Antwerp. He got acquainted with the advantages offered by Europe's second-largest port, of course figuring Brexit high on the agenda. While the uncertainty over Brexit continues, one thing is clear: as soon as the UK leaves the European Union, in whichever form, there will be radical changes in the transport of goods between the two regions. Goods entering or leaving the EU by ferry ports will face more checks and red tape once Brexit comes along. Brexit means more inspections of people, goods and documents, resulting in higher costs, congestion and longer transit times for ferry transport.
Port of Antwerp anticipates that accompanied trucks will increasingly be replaced by shortsea container transport, which by definition refers to unaccompanied goods loaded on board by crane for non-oceanic crossings. Port of Antwerp is therefore gearing up for further expansion of shortsea links with the UK, thus offering at least part of the solution for the consequences of Brexit. Today's visit should therefore make it clear to ambassador Shearman that after Brexit, Antwerp will more than ever be the main gateway for trade between Europe and the UK.
‘Good friends and trading partners continue to talk to each other even in difficult and uncertain times', said CEO of Port of Antwerp - Jacques Vandermeiren during his meeting with the ambassador.
With nearly 17 million tonnes of freight the UK was the second-largest trading partner for Port of Antwerp in 2018. Existing and new shortsea services between Antwerp and the British Isles will undoubtedly gain in importance in the run-up to Brexit and after 31 October 2019, building on the present links with nine UK and Irish ports.
Shortly after the British Brexit referendum in 2016, Port of Antwerp’s taskforce of ‘Brexperts’ has worked closely together with different stakeholders. Including Belgian Customs, the Belgian Food Safety Agency and major port community and business representatives to mitigate any negative consequences for the port.
"Brexit creates not only challenges but also opportunities for trade between the UK and Ireland on the one hand and the European continent on the other. Having more shortsea solutions in the logistics chain will not only mean greater reliability, it will also diminish our dependence on trucks for 'last mile' transport, as well as reducing costs and CO2 emissions," declared Justin Atkin, the Port of Antwerp representative in the UK and Ireland.
The Antwerp logistics service providers have a head start thanks to their experience with non-European shipping transport. This expertise ensures smooth handling of customs procedures and rapid transit times.
The customs authorities for their part are also getting ready: "We have already hired an additional 386 full-time employees in order to deal with Brexit. With 930,000 more import declarations and 4.5 million more export declarations the challenge facing us is enormous," explained Kristian Vanderwaeren, Director General of Belgian Customs & Excise.
The Panama Canal and the Port of Rotterdam signed a Memorandum Understanding (MOU) to promote international... Read more
Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK's largest port operator, teamed up with the Women in International... Read more
Transhipment in the North Sea Canal Area of the seaports of Amsterdam, IJmuiden, Beverwijk and Zaanstad... Read more
The first World Ports Climate Action Programme (WPCAP) congress will take place in Rotterdam next May... Read more
The SAFIR consortium of partners – Amazon Prime Air, Aveillant, C-Astral, DronePort, Elia, Explicit... Read more
Townsville Marine Logistics Pty Ltd, on thenorth-eastern coast of Australia, has received an electricKonecranes... Read more
Essar Ports has said higher capacity utilisation at its recently commissioned terminals at Salaya and... Read more
Peel Ports Group, one of the UK’s leading port operators, has been officially accredited with... Read more
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has released the 2019 mid-year cargo statistics for goods and passengers... Read more
Germany’s largest universal port remains on a growth course, achieving a distinct 4.1 percent... Read more