A delegation from Belgium’s port of Antwerp, led by port alderman and Port Authority chairman Marc Van Peel, last week visited the Iranian capital, Tehran, in order to meet with various ministries and private companies.
The delegation consisted mainly of petrochemical and shipping experts keen on restarting business with Iran since the recent lifting of sanctions.
The visit reportedly included meetings with the heads of the Ports and Maritime Organization, the Islamic Republic Shipping Line, the Iranian customs service and the Iranian Investment Organisation.
According to port spokeswoman Annik Dirkx, the discussions covered Iran’s ambitions in shipping and trade, as well as the role that the port of Antwerp could play in meeting these Iranian objectives.
The visit concluded with a visit to the Shahid Rajaee port in Bandar Abbas, Iran’s largest container port, and the Queshm free trade zone.
“Up until 2010, Antwerp was the largest European port destination for Iranian cargoes,” said Van Peel. “In the light of the recent nuclear agreement and the raising of economic sanctions, we wanted to let the Iranians know directly that Antwerp is still the ideal hub for reaching the European hinterland.”
Van Peel also spoke of Iran’s great demand for know-how concerning port infrastructure. “Port of Antwerp International and the Antwerp Flanders Port Training Centre are ready to support the Iranian port community in these areas,” he said. “In all respects the mission was certainly successful, opening up prospects both for Iran and for our port.”