Trade volume between Nigeria and Belgium now stands at 3 billion euros annually but that could increase in few years, the Belgium ambassador to Nigeria, Daniel Dargent has said.
Dargent disclosed this in Lagos yesterday when he led Belgian delegates and officials of the Port of Antwerp International (PAI) to sign a five year partnership agreement with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to enhance the efficiency of operations in both countries’ seaports.
“We see a lot of potentials in the port of Lagos due to Nigeria’s growing economy. The freight transport with Europe has increased substantially. By means of this collaboration we can use our know-how to advise the port of Lagos in its further development,” he said.
Hadiza Bala-Usman, the managing director of NPA, said the authority was renewing its 19 years agreement, which it first signed with PAI years ago. Usman, who was represented by Sakonte Davies, executive director, marine and operations of NPA, said the new agreement is geared towards building a bilateral relationship that would be mutually beneficial for both countries.
Kristof Waterschoot, the chief executive officer, Port of Antwerp, said under the agreement, the Port of Antwerp will play an advisory role with regards to enabling further development of Nigerian ports. Out of all ports in North-West Europe, Antwerp has the highest number of direct services to West Africa, resulting in a market share of nearly 50 percent amounting to freight of 15 million tonnes, which Nigeria has the highest volume of 6m tonnes annually.