The Port of Antwerp, in Belgium, has become the gateway to Europe for Ecuadorian bananas. In fact, in order to strengthen and promote commercial relations between Ecuador and the European territory, the Port of Antwerp and the Port Authority of Guayaquil (APG) signed a Cooperation and Friendship Agreement last month to work on the development and expansion of associations, promote bilateral cooperation, improve economic activities, and exchange information on best practices in port administration and the management of perishable products, in accordance with the new European Green Deal.
During the webinar 'Sustainable and hyperfast perishables logistics', held by the Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec) on December 1, Matheus Dolecki, the representative of the Port of Antwerp for Latin America, pointed out that the port offered the best conditions for Ecuadorian banana exporters to distribute the fruit to the European market, thanks to its accessibility to ports such as Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Switzerland.
This port occupies an area of 120 km² and has 800 distribution centers, both for bananas and other perishable products. It has nearby cold warehouses with easy access, many of them with phytosanitary inspection posts. It also has 8,000 sockets for refrigerated containers, as well as more than 100,000 pallet positions in cold stores for fresh and perishable cargo.
“We are the second-largest port in Europe and the 14th biggest port in the world. In the first half of 2020, the port of Antwerp moved the same volume that it moved in the first half of 2020. In 2019 we worked with 11.4 million tons of perishable products,” said Dolecki.
The Port of Antwerp has a capacity of 15 million TEU and plans to add an additional 7 million.
Certified Pick up
As of January 1, 2021, the Port of Antwerp will implement Certified Pick up (CPu), a digital and integrated solution for container release, and it will replace the current PIN code system.
The CPu platform will receive and process the container information to generate an encrypted digital key, with which the carrier can pick up the container. This digital key is only created when the final operator is known, so the time between the creation of the key and the collection of the container is minimal.
It will also allow tracking the parties that were involved in collecting the container. This will allow competent authorities, such as customs and police, to access the exchanged data within the limits of their legal powers.