The Port of Antwerp has assured British companies who bring goods through the port that it has everything prepared for Brexit. Anna Tobin reports
With an annual freight volume of around 15 million tonnes, the UK is the Port of Antwerp’s third-largest maritime trading partner and it’s keen to retain and develop this relationship post-Brexit.
As part of the Port of Antwerp’s Brexit preparations, it has appointed a new representative for the UK and Ireland. Justin Atkin, an expert in transport, shipping, and logistics, started in this post on September 1st.
“The UK was always a self-evident market for us” explains Wim Dillen, regional development manager at Antwerp Port Authority. “Brexit brings new challenges for us, and our new representative will act as our eyes and ears, keeping us in touch with the economic situation and the impact of Brexit on Antwerp’s business. We also count on Justin to place Antwerp even more strongly on the map for the UK and Ireland, and to attract new sources of cargo and investment.”
The Port has also set up a Brexit taskforce made up of representatives of the port community, Customs and Excise and the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain and is planning a UK roadshow for early next year. This roadshow will include a ‘Port Day’ in Birmingham and a stakeholders’ meeting in London, where local shippers will be able to find out more about the services and connections in the port of Antwerp and will get the opportunity to meet Antwerp logistic service providers in person.
“We are doing everything possible to be fully prepared for Brexit. But the most desirable situation for us post Brexit would be that trading conditions remain as close as possible to what they are now” says Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority. “Any obstacle to the free movement of goods, whether tariff or non-tariff, would, in our opinion, be prejudicial to trade relations between our port and the British market.”