Montrose Port Authority (MPA) hosted a fact-finding visit yesterday (October 5) by port and business representatives from Ghent in Belgium and Zeeland in the Netherlands to explore opportunities for developing new business links.
Flanders and Zeeland (with the port areas of Flushing/Borsele and Terneuzen) are two of the most important trade gateways for Europe and this 19-strong delegation visit to Montrose underlines the trade opportunities both areas believe can be developed.
During their visit, which was hosted by MPA chief executive Nik Scott-Gray, presentations and discussions took place with a number of local stevedoring companies and other businesses, including Rix Shipping Ltd and Whyte Cargo Handling Ltd. Also present was Alison Smith, head of economic development at Angus Council.
Nik Scott-Gray said: “We were delighted to welcome this delegation from the Port of Ghent and Zeeland Seaports, which provided a great opportunity for us to showcase the excellent facilities at the port of Montrose and the good number of forward-thinking support businesses located here.
“We believe there are great opportunities to develop new links with this part of Europe and these exploratory discussions are part of a process that will hopefully lead to the development of regular trade.”
Daan Schalck, CEO of the Port of Ghent commented: “Zeeland Seaports and Ghent Port Company jointly organised this mission to promote the contacts and trade between companies from in and around the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal zone, Flushing/Borsele and the UK.
“With joint cargo traffic of 5.7 million tonnes in 2015, the UK is an important trading partner. For Ghent, it is the sixth biggest trading partner (1.3 million tonnes) and for Zeeland Seaports even the biggest one (4.4 million tonnes).
CEO Jan Lagasse of Zeeland Seaports added: “The region from Flushing to Ghent is centrally located in Western Europe and can serve no less than 500 million consumers within a radius of 500 kilometres. The area counts 80,000 inhabitants, 110,000 workers and over 500 companies. This area is good for 13.6 billion euros in added value. It is 9,300 hectares wide and receives 8,700 seagoing vessels per year.”