Rotterdam and Antwerp ports should work together more closely to head off the risks posed by Chinese investments in southern European ports, Antwerp’s chief executive Eddy Bruyninckx says in an interview with the Financieele Dagblad.
For example, it would be sensible to develop joint storage facilities for goods heading to central and eastern Europe, he said. ‘We each play our part, but it would be wise to join forces to ship goods to Poland, the Czech Republic or Hungary,’ he told the paper.
These are countries which have more growth potential than the saturated western markets, Bruyninckx said.
Rotterdam and Antwerp are currently the two biggest ports in Europe but China is building up its position in Piraeus, near Athens and in the Turkish port of Kumport.
‘China wants to lessen its dependence on the northern European ports,’ Frans Paul van der Putten, a researcher with the Clingendael Institute, told the paper. ‘China will eventually be able to ship products to central Europe more quickly via southern ports than Rotterdam or Antwerp.’
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