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Thursday, 12 October 2017

The port of Antwerp: an African hub in Flanders

Europe’s second largest port, Antwerp in Belgium, maintains special links with the African continent, thanks to the variety of goods it handles and the routes it serves. Antwerp is the story of a river port, which managed to venture forth from the estuary of the River Scheldt and reach the furthest points of the earth. Its saga has lasted more than eight centuries, marching to the beat of globalisation. While it took the Flemish port seven hundred years to reach 100 million tonnes of annual traffic, it only took another twenty-five to double that volume. With 214 million tonnes handled in 2016, it is now one of the world’s twenty busiest ports, between the giants of Asia and still in the immovable shadow of Rotterdam. But unlike its eternal rival, Antwerp does not ride on the black gold of the oil trade. Its position as Europe’s number two is down to the diversity of its activities and the variety of its maritime routes. Antwerp is the world’s leading destination for coffee and is the European champion in tonnage for fruit and steel, as well as in chemical and vehicle traffic of all kinds. This dynamism means that it accounts for 4.7% of Belgium’s GDP by itself.

Source: Jeune Afrique

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