The Port Authority of Belgium’s Antwerp port has unveiled a number of initiatives to deal with the impact of Brexit.

As part of the initiatives, the Port Authority has appointed Ragged Edge Consulting owner Justin Atkin as the new representative for the UK and Ireland.

Atkin, who specialises in the fields of transport, shipping and logistics, assumed his position on 1 September 2018.

Antwerp Port Authority regional development manager Wim Dillen said: “The UK was always a self-evident market for us.

“Brexit brings new challenges for us, and our new representative will act as our eyes and ears, keeping us in touch with the economic situation and the impact of Brexit on Antwerp’s business.

“We also count on Justin to place Antwerp even more strongly on the map for the UK and Ireland, and to attract new sources of cargo and investment.”

“With Brexit rapidly approaching we want to concentrate on maintaining and even expanding our market position within the UK.”

The UK and the port of Antwerp currently trade approximately 15 million tonnes of freight annually, thereby making the country one of the biggest maritime trading partners after the US and Russia.

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“Antwerp is also ideally situated as an investment location close to the European centres of decision-making, and as the gateway to Europe from where the continent can be served quickly and efficiently, given that 50% of UK production is bound for continental Europe,” Port of Antwerp said in a statement.

Antwerp Port Authority CEO Jacques Vandermeiren said: “The actual impact of Brexit is still uncertain.

“Last year there was a decrease of nearly 8% in trade with the UK, probably due to this uncertainty.

“But with Brexit rapidly approaching we want to concentrate on maintaining and even expanding our market position within the UK.”

Other initiatives taken by the Port Authority to handle Brexit include a Brexit taskforce that comprises representatives of the port community, Customs & Excise and the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain.