Port of Antwerp to team up with San Pedro


Belgium’s Port of Antwerp is to work towards further developing the port of San Pedro in the Ivory Coast, West Africa, over the next few years.

The San Pedro area, which is home to the world’s largest coco port, has over 2000 hectares of vacant land that will be developed as part of the expansion of the Port.

The Port of Antwerp in Belgium is in the heart of Europe and is accessible to capsize ships. The inland location means that the port of Antwerp enjoys a more central location in Europe than the majority of North Sea ports. Antwerp’s docks are connected to the hinterland by rail, waterway and road and as a result the port of Antwerp has become one of Europe’s largest sea ports, ranking second behind Rotterdam by total freight shipped.

The Port of Antwerp International, the international subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority, will assist San Pedro in further drawing up the blueprint design for the port. The arrangements were laid down in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by representatives of PAI and San Pedro at the end of November.

The Port of San Pedro currently holds a volume of between 1.5 and 2 tonnes of freight volume each year. However with the plans of expansion in collaboration with the Port of Antwerp, the Port of San Pedro has the ambition to considerably expand on this volume on a regional scale. Work towards fulfilling this ambition is already underway after a number of practical investment and development projects have already been drawn up.

These practical investment and development projects include the construction of logistics zones which will be set up in the hinterland of the port, including the cities of Odienné, Touba and Man. Further, space will be created in the port of San Pedro for logistics zones to handle rice, cashew nuts, fertilisers and cotton.

Finally, an additional 150 hectares of port area will be made ready for development, with a view to attracting potential investors.

Last year, in October 2010, PAI and San Pedro signed an agreement to look at areas in which PAI could assist the West African port. The relevant areas have now been defined and are described in the MoU that was signed at the end of November this year.

Nico Vertongen, Africa Manager at PAI said:

“One of the objectives of PAI is to further bind freight and customers to Antwerp, and this will form the starting point of our activities there,”

For example, PAI has agreed to carry out specific studies for port facilities and operation of the port area. Training for port professionals will be provided by APEC, the training subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority.

For this purpose Antwerp Port Authority will make three scholarships per year available to its counterpart in San Pedro and there will also be support for commercial activities made available.

To promote the collaboration of the Port of Antwerp and the Port of San Pedro a joint Port Day will be held in 2012 to celebrate the partnership and expansion.