Monday, June 10, 2013

EXIM players on exposure trip to European ports


With a view to giving more exposure about the working style of EU ports to regional EXIM players, the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) organized a visit to European Ports recently.
The delegation, which consisted of 11 members from companies such as Kattupalli Port, Brakes India, Sattva Logistics and S Natesa Iyer & Co., visited the ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Ghent. 
These ports were specifically chosen by the Madras Chamber as they represent various aspects of the maritime trade.
While Zeebrugge is the largest new car container facility in Europe, Ghent is a riverine port handling coal and iron ore effectively adhering to environmental norms; Rotterdam is the biggest port in Europe and Antwerp is a major port in Europe situated on the river Scheldt, both handling multi-commodities.
Members of the delegation saw at first-hand how a city-based port of Antwerp effectively and efficiently handles break bulk and liquid bulk cargo. It may be noted here that the refining facilities located in the port premises was the highlight of this port.
The modern container terminals with evacuation by road, rail and barge demonstrate the ease of access and evacuation from the port.
At the port of Ghent, members were impressed to see the effective pollution control on dry bulk cargo, especially coal and the effective use of water cannons and silicon spraying to control dust pollution of dry bulk cargoes. The port of Ghent also has a port-based facility where liquid concentrated juice is pumped into tanks, thereafter blended and packaged and distributed throughout Europe.
The Arcelor Mittal steel factory is also located in the port premises at Ghent and the port efficiently caters to their raw material and fuel requirements.
The short sea service provided by ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam to connect various European Ports was another interesting learning experience for the visiting Indians.
According to a member of the delegation, most of these ports have effectively installed wind turbines to cater to their energy requirements and are moving towards a coal and carbon neutrality.
Members also had an opportunity to see the world’s heaviest floating crane structures, capable of lifting 14,000 tonnes and 8,000 tonnes of cargo. These are the largest available lifting structures in the world.
The road infrastructure created by the ports for access and evacuation effectively bypasses city traffic and avoids congestion.
Members also had an occasion to participate in the Break Bulk Conference held at Antwerp as well as visit the exhibition and interact with the delegates from around the world.
The visit was organized at the invitation of Mr. Mark Peel, Chairman, Port of Antwerp, who had led a delegation from the Port of Antwerp to Chennai in February this year. The whole coordination for the delegation was extended by Mr. Raj Khalid, India Representative of Port of Antwerp based in Mumbai, which facilitated the various visits/appointments.

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