The Port of Montreal and the Port of Antwerp have a longstanding relationship. The Port of Antwerp is the Port of Montreal’s main trading partner in Europe. More than one out of every five containers that the Port of Montreal handles comes from or goes to the Port of Antwerp. This represents an annual bilateral container volume of close to 300,000 TEUs.

The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) and the Antwerp Port Authority signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2013 aimed at fostering mutually beneficial cooperation in marketing and business development to further bolster their already substantial maritime trade relations across the Atlantic.

Within the accord, the ports have identified four areas of cooperation that will continue to evolve:

1. Business Intelligence: exchanging market information for the purpose of sustaining the growth and development of the two ports;

2. Marketing and Commercial Development: working together in order to foster commercial development between the two ports and to increase their visibility within their respective markets and within emerging markets;

3. Sustainable Development/Social Responsibility: sharing best practices, lessons learned and experiences in order to further improve measures for sustainable development and relations with neighbouring communities; and

4. Asset Management: sharing best practices, lessons learned and experiences in order to better manage port, rail and road infrastructures, relations with tenants and service contracts.

The Port of Montreal and the Port of Antwerp organize a joint trade mission once a year, alternately in Antwerp and Montreal. The next trade mission is scheduled for Antwerp in May. In January, the MPA’s Vice-President of Operations, Daniel Dagenais, participated in a European trade mission led by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard that included a tour of the Port of Antwerp.

Moving forward, the ports, among other initiatives, will:

• Develop, within the scope of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, a detailed joint study on traffic moving between North America and Europe via the two ports;

• Explore transshipment scenarios for new markets by sharing information on the African market (Port of Antwerp) and the North American market (Port of Montreal); and

• Support all initiatives to support transport fluidity and the simplification of customs procedures between the two ports.

The Port of Montreal’s new branding strategy, ‘Trading with the World,’ is an integral part of its strategic plan to increase its visibility on an international scale. “The partnership with the Port of Antwerp fits in perfectly with this strategic approach,” said MPA Marketing Manager Yves Gilson. “It allows the Port to bolster its presence in a major market that it serves. It demonstrates the Port’s desire to help its clients increase their business, and it supports them in their growth efforts. And it provides the Port with opportunities to attract new customers.”

“The partnership between the Port of Montreal and the Port of Antwerp is based on shared values and shared interests and is a win-win for either party,” said Frank Geerkens, Port Ambassador for the Port of Antwerp.

“The agreement between our ports has been strengthening our mutual understanding and cooperation in the field of port management, business development and marketing. Furthermore, our teams share best practices on a variety of domains, including asset management, safety and security, and sustainability. This has proven to be beneficial to our clients, our local labour markets and port operations in general.”