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Delegation from Portsmouth visit Belgium’s maritime powerhouse

Port of Antwept delegation

Representatives from Portico and Portsmouth International Port recently visited Antwerp, which is home to Europe’s second-largest seaport. The Port of Antwerp is the economic engine of the region, covering an area of 24,000 football pitches and employing 144,183 people directly and indirectly.

It is also a municipal port, which means it is owned by the local municipal authority – the same ownership model as Portsmouth’s port. Because of this similarity, the team from Portsmouth were keen to observe the Port of Antwerp’s governance model and also discuss trade opportunities between the two ports in the future.

Cllr Steve Pitt, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council said “The scale of the operations at the Port of Antwerp are truly awe inspiring. It really shows that the model of municipal port ownership can deliver remarkable results, with profits being re-invested into the port and the wider city.

“£8million profit from our port already goes straight to supporting other vital council services, so that’s why we’ve agreed to invest £15 million into Portico and a further £19 million into the wider port to maximise future returns for the city. I was also impressed with the way they harness wind power at the port, with 55 turbines on site which produce renewable energy for their facilities.”

Cllr Donna Jones, Portico board member and leader of the Conservative group at Portsmouth City Council added. “Portico’s operations have been revolutionised since the new management team have taken the helm, and as a member of the board I’m delighted to have seen the organisation begin to realise its potential.

“The Port of Antwerp is fantastic success story and I hope that as a result of this meeting we can work towards deepening the links between our two proud maritime cities.”

The delegation have offered to reciprocate the Port of Antwerp’s hospitality by hosting them on a return trip to Portsmouth early next year.

Dries Van Gheluwe, Key Account Manager for Shipping Lines from the Port of Antwerp said “The Port of Antwerp is always happy to welcome ports like Portsmouth with a same vision, and share best practices on innovation and digitalisation. We hope to work more closely together in the future to expand our short sea services.”

Steve Williams, operations director at Portico said “I would like to thank our colleagues from Antwerp for hosting us last week on what was a valuable opportunity to discover more about the port, share knowledge and explore how we can work together.

“We look forward to welcoming them to Portsmouth next year to show them what we have to offer, and further investigate how we can work together to maximise future short sea trade opportunities between our ports.”