Belgium's Antwerp Port Authority has signed a collaboration agreement with the Chinese port of Caofeidian to participate in China's 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) project.
The OBOR initiative aims to link China's major ports and industrial centres more closely with the trade centres situated across Asia, Middle East, Europe and other regions.
Both the port authorities will evaluate the possibility of establishing a rail connection between Caofeidian and Antwerp under the new agreement.
Shipping transport between the routes will also be improved due to the addition of a new regular liner service.
The deal will also enable Caofeidian port professionals to follow a training package later this year, which has been specially developed by the port of Antwerp’s maritime training institute APEC-Antwerp / Flanders Port Training Centre.
Both port authorities will also carry out mutual promotion and exchange of information as part of the new deal.
Caofeidian is located in the North of Bohai bay in China and handled 260 million tonnes of freight last year, including 36 million tonnes of steel.
Antwerp is the largest steel port in Europe and has an extensive range of value-added activities in this segment.
The annual volume of steel carried between Caofeidian and Antwerp is estimated to be between 500,000t and 700,000t.
The port of Antwerp spans an area of 12,068 hectares and currently includes1,061km of rail networks.
China's OBOR project was initially announced in 2013 also contains a rail aspect, which follows a route similar to the ancient Silk Road.
The project’s maritime aspect covers South-East Asia and countries around the Indian Ocean.