On the 28th of October, the first edition of 'Discovery Days' took place in Strasbourg. This is a new series of events organized by Port of Zeebrugge to bring port communities together, exchange knowledge and develop interesting networking activities. The Strasbourg region, which counts a lot of forwarders and is therefore very important for the development of the hinterland network of Zeebrugge, was the first to take part.
The meeting between the logistics players from Zeebrugge and Strasbourg started with an introduction by Anne-Marie Jean, President of Port Autonome de Strasbourg, and Tom Hautekiet, CEO Port of Zeebrugge. This was followed by two panel discussions introduced by a video.
Smooth hinterland connections
As a coastal port Zeebrugge has a particularly good maritime access. But also on the landside, the port needs to be easily accessible. Since many forwarders are located in the Strasbourg region, a good connection between the ports of Zeebrugge and Strasbourg is important for the development of the hinterland network of Zeebrugge. The first panel discussion therefore focused on the importance of a smooth connection between both ports by rail, inland navigation, and estuary shipping.
Philippe Le Petit, representative of Port of Zeebrugge in France, on the daily rail connection with Strasbourg: "Given the favourable geographical position of Strasbourg in relation to the rest of Europe, bordering on Germany and close to Switzerland and Luxembourg, a regular rail connection from and to Zeebrugge is relevant and useful. In addition, Strasbourg now has an important connection to Asia, one of our top destinations in Zeebrugge. Finally, import and export flows are balanced, which is a fundamental condition for the profitable operation of a regular rail service."
Prepared for the future
The second panel discussion focused on the future. Tom Hautekiet and Dominique Mathern, Port of Antwerp's representative in France, elaborated on the challenges facing the port of Zeebrugge and the imminent merger with Port of Antwerp.
Tom Hautekiet, CEO of Port of Zeebrugge: "As a port, we have shown our resilience during the corona crisis. But the logistics world still faces major challenges. Collaboration is essential and thanks to the Discovery Days, we as a port community can connect with various logistics players from other ports through knowledge exchange and familiarization."
Marc Adriansens, President Association of Port of Zeebrugge Interests: "It is important for us as Zeebrugge port community to be present in Strasbourg. Not only to promote the connection between our ports by rail, inland navigation, and estuary shipping, but especially to meet existing and potential trade partners from the region."