The port of Antwerp in Belgium has signed a five-year agreement with Russia’s state-owned port developer Rosmorport to collaborate on port development, expansion of transport and logistics networks, and attracting investments in port facilities.

Rosmorport is responsible for developing and maintaining Russia's maritime infrastructure and port facilities. The country is aiming to double port capacity over the next 10 years. The collaboration will also target joint improvements to energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy.

Russia is Antwerp’s fourth-largest trading partner and in 2012 Antwerp Port Authority reported that the total volume of freight carried between the Belgian port and Russia amounted to 8.6m tonnes, 60,000 tonnes of which was accounted for by finished vehicle traffic. Approximately 90% of the total volume moves between Antwerp and the Baltic coast of Russia.

In 2012 Antwerp handled more than 1,240,000 vehicles (including used vehicles), up 14.8% on the preceding year. The main brands were Fiat, Hyundai, Kia and Mazda. Its main terminal operators for finished vehicle cargo are International Car Operators (ICO) and Antwerp EuroTerminal (AET).

While a spokesperson for the port of Antwerp said it was too early to identify the specific benefits for automotive handling, they said it was the first step in a mutually beneficial joint project that will see Antwerp sharing its expertise for the improvement of port development and efficiency at the Russian ports, while in return benefitting from Rosmorport’s proficiency.

“Through best practice sharing we also look forward to learning from the challenges Russian ports face,” a spokesperson for the port of Antwerp told Automotive Logistics News. “The Rosmorport organisation and the 60+ ports have a large scope of diverse port activities with many specific expertise and competences to offer, and Antwerp can for sure also learn and benefit from these. This partnership is a two-way street.”

The signatories intend to support the success of the venture with a greater exchange of information and by organising training courses for Russian port professionals at APEC, the training centre operated by Antwerp Port Authority.

Rosmorport signed a similar agreement with global cargo operator Cargotec back in October 2011 designed to share knowhow on infrastructure development and modernise port capacity.