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Port of Antwerp and Port of Dakar cement partnership

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Dry Bulk,

On Friday 2nd March, the port authorities of Antwerp and Dakar signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning their collaboration in the next five years. According to the Port of Antwerp, this agreement is expected to enable Antwerp, the second-largest port in Europe, to reinforce its historic position as leader on the coast of West Africa. For the Senegalese port, the collaboration can be seen as a way to position itself as the main regional hub for freight.

Managing Director of the Port Autonome de Dakar, Aboubacar Sedikh Beye, signed for the Port of Dakar, while Kristof Waterschoot, CEO of two subsidiaries of Antwerp Port Authority (PAI and APEC), represented the Antwerp side. The signing ceremony was attended by the Belgian first minister Charles Michel and deputy first minister and minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo, both on a working visit to Senegal.

Dakar is one of the largest ports on the coast of West Africa with an annual freight volume of 17 million t. This port city occupies a uniquely strong position on the world map, located at the crossroads of sailing routes between Europe on the one hand and North and South America and southern Africa on the other. Thanks to its excellent sea access, Dakar is one of the few West African ports that are able to handle ships of all dimensions at any time.

Dakar now has plans to build a new port 50 km away from the present facility which with a keel depth of 18 m will be able to handle the latest generation of giant container carriers without difficulty. Together with the new port, Dakar also plans an economic and logistics zone of 600 ha.

“We will make use of our experience and expertise to help Dakar realise its ambitions,” declared Waterschoot.

A recent report by the World Bank underlined the economic potential of the continent but also points up a number of challenges such as the lack of sufficiently trained personnel. “We will immediately step in to fill this gap, by sharing our know-how and expertise. Our training centre APEC remains the partner of choice for training maritime professionals, while our consultancy subsidiary PAI will assist the port authority with the necessary expertise for developing a multipurpose terminal and deepening the approach channels so as to maximise the capacity of the port of Dakar,” Waterschoot concluded.

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