The Antwerp and Dakar port authorities have revealed that they are to collaborate more closely in the next few years, allowing the port of Antwerp, the second-largest in Europe, to reinforce its position as leader on the coast of West Africa.
The Senegalese port of Dakar for its part views the collaboration as a way to position itself as the main regional hub for freight.
In order to put an official seal on the future collaboration, the respective port authorities have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
With an annual freight volume of 17m tonnes, Dakar is one of the largest ports on the coast of West Africa, occupying a uniquely strong position on the world map as it is located at the crossroads of sailing routes between Europe on the one hand and North and South America and southern Africa on the other.
Thanks to its excellent sea access, Dakar is one of the few West African ports able to handle ships of all dimensions at any time.
Dakar has set its sights higher and plans to build a new port 50km away from the present facility which, with a keel depth of 18m, will be able to handle the latest generation of giant container carriers without difficulty.
“We will make use of our experience and expertise to help Dakar realise its ambitions,” declared Kristof Waterschoot after the signature. “We will immediately step in to fill this gap, by sharing our know-how and expertise.
"Our training centre APEC remains the partner of choice for training maritime professionals, while our consultancy subsidiary PAI will assist the port authority with the necessary expertise for developing a multipurpose terminal and deepening the approach channels so as to maximise the capacity of the port of Dakar,” Waterschoot added.
The five-year MoU also contained a number of commitments in the area of marketing, developing trade relations, organising joint commercial events and exchanging information on subjects such as customs & excise, security and sustainability.