City of Antwerp and Antwerp Port Authority start urban mission to Moscow and St. Petersburg
An Antwerp delegation led by Mayor Bart De Wever is on an urban mission in Russia from 23 to 28 April visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg aiming to consolidate and expand the close trade relations between Russia and Antwerp and its seaport, City of Antwerp said in its press release. Russia has indeed been one of the most important trading partners for decades. The mission started today with an Antwerp business seminar in Moscow. More than 100 Russian companies attended this event. The seminar sets a strong focus on digital innovation, one of both partners’ particular growth clusters.
"The city of Antwerp and the Port Authority have recently set up several new digital innovation projects. These will bring us sustained economic growth”, explains Mayor Bart De Wever. "Through this business seminar in Russia, we want to realize partnerships between Antwerp and Russian companies and attract investors to invest in our Belgian city.”
The Port of Antwerp in particular, Europe’s second largest port, offers many opportunities for further investments. Freight traffic between Russia and Antwerp has been on the rise for years. Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Antwerp Port Authority, explains: “In 2017, more than 14 million tonnes of cargo have been transported between Russia and Antwerp. This makes Russia to our second most important trading partner at present. And there are still many opportunities for future cooperation. The digital transformation of the logistic business is in full gear and as a port, we want to enable the business development of our partners by acting as a catalyst for the digital opportunities. The new digital business portal NxtPort consolidates the data from the different sources and enables the development of targeted supply chain solutions."
Together with the Port Authority, the University of Antwerp, the imec research institute and the employers federation Agoria, the city created “The Beacon”, a business and innovation hub for heavyweights in the IoT. Key objective is to build a distinctive ecosystem bringing together corporates, start-ups, research, academia, sponsors on IoT applications for logistics, industry and smart city. The city of Antwerp has the clear ambition to be a true Capital of Things open to international ideas and innovation.
The city of Antwerp and research institute imec have set up a smart zone, a part of the city where experiments in smart city applications are taking place. Imec is developing the largest living lab in Europe. The commitment of citizens is crucial in this smart city approach. Smart lighting, smart mobility, smart logistics are the first projects.
During the business seminar in Moscow, Antwerp fulfils its brand promise of being open for business and organized a competition for Russian innovators. Five Russian start-ups presented their projects to an Antwerp expert jury. The winning start-up of this pitch is CPS LAB, which develops complex integrated solutions for the industry based on smart bracelets, tags and the industrial platform of Internet of Things. The solutions are aimed in particular at increasing efficiency and ensuring the safety of employees, objects and cargo. Their modular architecture allows for configuration of the bracelets with all required functions, hardware and software. In addition, this enables CPS LAB to develop solutions that meet the tasks and requirements of all industries. The winner is now invited to spend a month in Antwerp free of charge to discover business opportunities in the city. In doing so, Antwerp is fulfilling its brand promise of 'open for business'.
The Port of Antwerp has a long tradition as a European gateway for Russian trade flows. Transported goods include chemical products, steel, project cargo and container cargo. And this strong partnership is growing. Early February this year, the Arctic Shipping Company launched a new multipurpose liner service connecting St. Petersburg and Antwerp biweekly.
And the Port of Antwerp wants to continue to offer the best opportunities for Russian shippers, shipping companies and logisticians. “We are working hard to become a 'port of the future' by implementing IoT projects which will also benefit our Russian partners”, says Jacques Vandermeiren. As part of this commitment, the Port of Antwerp is implementing intelligent technologies in port infrastructure and services. Examples are the smart Deurganck dock for efficient shipping operations or the digital business enabler NxtPort for smart supply chain solutions.
The next stop of the urban mission will be St. Petersburg on 25-27 April. Antwerp and St. Petersburg are celebrating 60th anniversary of their town twinning this year.
At the beginning of February this year, the Arctic Shipping Company launched a new liner service between St. Petersburg and Antwerp. Two multipurpose ships with a net deadweight tonnage of 11,500 tonseach transport conventional goods such as steel, project cargo and break bulk as well as 20' and 40' containers on the route. The ships operate every two weeks and are ice-classified. Depending on the cargo, they call at the various terminals in St. Petersburg, such as KCTL, Tetramet and St. Petersburg Terminal.
Main Russian Ports
•Others: Kaliningrad, Black Sea Ports, Archangelsk, Siberian & Far East Ports