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Marc Van Peel given a fond farewell at Port of Antwerp’s reception in Mumbai

Ms Annick De Ridder, new Port Alderperson, welcomed by the Indian maritime fraternity


The who’s who of the Indian maritime fraternity and Antwerp Port Authority graced the Port of Antwerp’s annual reception at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai on February 21, 2019, which was primarily an occasion to bid farewell to Mr Marc Van Peel, ex Port Alderman of Antwerp Port Authority, who was on his last official trip to India. He was lauded for his outstanding contribution in building strong relations between the Indian maritime community and the Port of Antwerp over the years.


It was also an opportunity to welcome the new Port Alderperson, Ms Annick De Ridder, who was on her maiden visit to India.


Some of the other key members of the port delegation were Mr Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO, Mr Luc Arnouts, Director International Relations, Mr William Demoor, Director Customer Relations, Antwerp Port Authority, as well as Mr Kristof Waterschoot, Managing Director of APEC/Flanders Training School and Port of Antwerp International.


Ms Malini Dutt, India Representative of Antwerp Port, in her address, said that Antwerp Port Authority plans to bring Antwerp logistics companies to India for collaborations with their Indian counterparts, thereby enhancing bilateral relations. She also highlighted the many visits undertaken by the representatives to different Indian cities to understand the requirements of shippers and to share the best practices of the port. She added that so far the port has built a strong network of 70 Port of Antwerp Alumni Association members in India.


Mr Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO, Antwerp Port Authority, highlighted some of the achievements of the port in 2018, including record cargo handling for the sixth year in a row with a growth of about 5.2 per cent over the previous year. He pointed out that the port handled around 235.2 million tonnes of transhipment in 2018 which was a decade’s high, with container growth of 6.4 per cent to 130.9 million tonnes, RoRo growth of 5.4 per cent, liquid bulk growth of 3.6 per cent and dry bulk transhipment growth of around 7.2 per cent to 13 million tonnes.


He also threw light on the incremental investments of around € 5 billion in the chemical cluster at the port, which was the largest investment in the European chemical industry in the past 20 years. He apprised the gathering on the MoU signed by Antwerp Port and Indian Chemical Council last year as well as the other initiatives taken by the port to enhance the mutual relationship.


He highlighted some of the key initiatives of Mr Marc Van Peel, such as the Antwerp Port Training Centre in collaboration with JN Port, bringing in key speakers for the port’s annual receptions in India, most notably the King and Queen of Belgium. He described Mr Marc Van Peel as a true Ambassador of friendship between the Indian maritime community and the Port of Antwerp.


Mr Anand Sheth, Past President of AMTOI, spoke about the special relationship he shared with Mr Marc Van Peel over the years and described him as one of the most distinguished Chairmen of the Port of Antwerp. He also recalled that when he was AMTOI President, the India Natie agreement was signed with the port, which focused on bridging the gap between India and Europe by providing world class trading facilities through a collaborative partnership.


Later, AMTOI members presented a very special handcrafted silver on glass memento of the peacock, the Indian National Bird, to Mr Marc Van Peel for his outstanding contribution to enhancing the relationship between the Indian maritime community and Antwerp Port over the years.


AMTOI President, Mr Shantanu Bhadkamkar, felicitated Mr Jacques Vandermeiren with a historic memento dedicated to New Delhi, the Indian Capital. He also presented a Special Book on 150 Years of Indian Archaeology History to Ms Annick De Ridder. Mr Sailesh Bhatia, Past President of AMTOI, felicitated Mr Marc Van Peel with a memento of the Ashoka Pillar.


Mr Samir J. Shah, Past President of FFFAI, also shared his experiences with Mr Marc Van Peel and applauded his initiatives.


Mr Marc Van Peel, in his address, said he was overwhelmed by the graciousness of so many of his personal friends in India. He also revealed that Mr Raj Khalid, India Representative of Antwerp Port (Advisory Capacity), would be felicitated by the King of Belgium, through official representatives in India, for his outstanding contribution to building a strong relationship between Antwerp Port and the Indian maritime community.


He then introduced the new Port Adlerperson, Ms Annick De Ridder, and hoped that the relationship between Antwerp Port and the Indian maritime community would reach new heights under her leadership.


Ms Annick De Ridder expressed her heartfelt gratitude for such a warm welcome on her maiden visit to India and said that she has big shoes to fill given the achievements of Mr Marc Van Peel. She observed that the success of the port is largely due to the merit of the port community, of employees and employers, and her job as the Port Alderperson is to facilitate this community in order to ensure that the port is open for business.


She emphasised that India is among the top ten maritime partner countries in terms of volumes and is, therefore, a very important market for Antwerp, which it will continue to be in the future as well. She applauded Mr Marc Van Peel for building strong and friendly relationships between the Indian maritime community and the port.


Source: Exim News Service - MUMBAI


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