Ladies and Gentlemen,
In name of the province of Antwerp , the University of Antwerp and the Centre for Maritime and Air Transport Management (C-MAT) I warmly welcome you on the Maritime Supply Chains course. Therefor I, as deputy for economics and international co-operation of the province of Antwerp insisted on personally welcoming you.
I have the honour to welcome you to our beautiful province, city and port of Antwerp. Our region is a strategic location for local en intenational companies. For European standards it is a densely populated area, but nevertheless a dynamic, creative and cultural place to live. In order to compete on a global scale we unite our force with the Netherlands in the so-called Flemish-Dutch Delta. A region with a gross regional product of 38,400 euro per resident as opposed to the European average of 27,500. The economic pillars of the Flemish-Dutch Delta are Agrifood, Chemistry and Biobased Economy. And even in a larger scale (from London to Milan) we are home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of population, capital and companies.
If the Northeast Passage would become a real alternative to the Suez canal, our ports of the Flemish-Dutch Border remain in pole position from Asia and even South America up to Russia. But also railcorridors can better connect our regions for doing business in a sustainable way. At least 3 corridors of THE so-called Trans European Transport networks in which the European commission is investing run through Antwerp. And lost but not least we can choose to also better interconnect our hinterlands with each other.
The province of Antwerp, containing the second largest port of Europe is the economical driver of Belgium and our Flemish region. More than one third of the investments and nearly half of the turn-over of Flanders is made in the province of Antwerp. The port of Antwerp and by extension the broader logistic network of course plays a major role in this.
The port of Antwerp counts no less than 146.000 jobs, of which 60.000 people are employed directly in the port. The direct added value of the port of Antwerp is no less than twenty billion EUR and last year at least 200 million tonnes of freight and 9.6 million containers were handled.
The port of Antwerp is our gateway to the world. It may not come as a suprise that the province of Antwerp together with C-MAT united our forces in order to translate the enormous amount of knowledge in maritime and air transport economics into international courses of world class.
C-MAT offers you a academic and mainly hands-on education and research. For instance on 4th of May you will get a unique insight in the port of Antwerp, thanks to our provincial Harbour Centre . I assure you, it will be an challenging trip .
I hope our programme and Region will inspire you and when you return back home you will think of your stay as a beacon for THE future, in which we are interconnected to each other and THE rest of THE world.
So, welcome in the province of Antwerp and enjoy your course at C-MAT.