Ladies and Gentlemen,
In name of the province of Antwerp , the University of Antwerp and the Centre for Maritime and Air Transport Management (C-MAT) I warmly welcome you on the very first Maritime Supply Chains course. As first Students following this course, you’ll soon also be the first to graduate. Therefor I, as deputy for economics and international co-operation of the province of Antwerp insisted on personally welcoming you.
The province of Antwerp, containing the second largest port of Europe is the economical driver of Belgium and our Flemish region. More than one third of the investments and nearly half of the turn-over of Flanders is made in the province of Antwerp. The port of Antwerp and by extension the broader logistic network of course plays a major role in this.
The port of Antwerp counts no less than 146.000 jobs, of which 60.000 people are employed directly in the port. The direct added value of the port of Antwerp is no less than twenty billion EUR and last year at least 200 million tonnes of freight and 9.6 million containers were handled.
This year the so-called lock of Kieldrecht will be inaugurated. It is the biggest lock in the world with a size of 500 meters by 68 meters and a depth of 17.8 meters.
The port of Antwerp is our gateway to the world. The province of Antwerp has several partnerships with our direct neigbouring countries, but also with the Far East (Shaanxi, Chongqing and the Oblast of St-Peterburg). Hospitality is one of our key assets. It may not come as a suprise that the province of Antwerp together with C-MAT united our forces in order to translate the enormous amount of knowledge in maritime and air transport economics into international courses of world class. Today we are proud to welcome students from 14 countries and 4 continents. This University is one of the biggest and renowned academic institutions in maritime and transport economy.
C-MAT offers you a academic and mainly hands-on education and research. For instance on 18th of April you will get a unique insight in the port of Antwerp, thanks to our provincial Harbour Centre . I assure you, it will be an challenging trip .
Our Harbour Centre looks into the future. Together with the University of Antwerp it starts a research project on the jobs of the future. Of course we all know that digitalisation and automatisation will have a tremendous effect on the labour market but so far the speed and impact of these trends is fairly unknown. Trends that will also influence the Supply Chains. I truely hope the education we offer will guide you as future managers or decision makers in these upcoming challenges.
And last but not least, I advise you to keep in touch with each other during this course and in close connection with our provincial governance, it will be useful today and in the future.
So, welcome in the province of Antwerp and enjoy your course at C-MAT.