THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) this week signed two agreements on technical and training assistance with affiliates of the Port of Antwerp to help prepare the groundwork for the country’s expanded participation in global maritime trade in general and in anticipation of the Asean integration in particular, the agency reported.
The PPA signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on port cooperation with the Port of Antwerp International NV (PAI), Belgium on Wednesday, October 19.
Established as a 100 percent subsidiary of the Port of Antwerp Authority, PAI provides port related management consulting services and boasts strong functional and technical expertise and resources in the field of port and logistics infrastructure development. The PPA is the government agency vested with the duty to implement an integrated program for the planning, development, financing and operation of ports in the Philippines.
The MOU will run for a period of one year, during which time both PAI and PPA will prepare a detailed plan of cooperation in the areas of port development, promotion of customer service, and development of mutually beneficial relations with international maritime trade and business. Cooperation between the Parties to the MOU will also include the conduct of research and consultancy projects in port, maritime and logistics services, and regular exchanges in areas such as promoting mutual investments between the Parties in the development and modernization of port infrastructure and industrial and logistic port zones, and fostering energy efficiency at the ports.
At the same time the agreement with PAI was signed, the PPA also signed an MOU on Port Training Cooperation with the APEC-Antwerp/Flanders Port Training Center (APEC-AFPTC), a sister company of the Antwerp Port Authority.
The APEC-AFPTC is an international training institute for port and maritime matters that focuses on the transfer of knowledge via standard seminars, tailor-made courses, study visits and lectures.
The focus of the cooperation with APEC-AFPTC is to draw up a platform for training PPA professionals and undertaking sustained exchanges in the area of port management and operations in both technical and legal aspects, and port information and technology.
PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago expressed his optimism in the outcomes of the cooperation with the Antwerp Port Authority (APA) through its affiliate organizations. The MOUs are expected to enhance the capabilities of the agency’s port personnel in coping with the demands of a growing clientele from within the national boundaries and expanding into regional and international markets, Santiago said.
Kristof Waterschoot, Managing Director of PAI and APEC-AFPTC signed the MOUs on behalf of the two APA organizations. Mr. Waterschoot said he considers the MOUs as steps by which Belgium and the Philippines could identify possible collaboration, thereby further strengthening the long-established friendship between the two countries.