Belgium and Australia to cooperate more closely on port logistics and energy transition
A Belgian business delegation is currently in Australia to explore possible cooperation in areas including port logistics and energy transition. This includes exchanging data between ports and signing a new memorandum of understanding with the state of New South Wales on green hydrogen and offshore wind energy.
During the Belgian delegation's visit to Port Botany in Sydney, the NxtPort digital platform was highlighted. This programme, developed by the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, facilitates the exchange of vessel planning data with other ports. This allows the port community to work faster, more efficiently and more safely.
The Port of Sydney, one of Australia's largest container ports, has recently started using the system. Flemish minister of Finance and Budget Matthias Diependaele (N-VA), who represents Flanders on the mission, said the port sector has long been suspicious of data sharing.
"We recognised this fact in 2016 when we started talking about the power of data sharing in the Port of Antwerp. That's when NxtPort was born," he said. Since then, he said, the necessary trust has slowly been built "to get conservative industries to share information".
"Today, the NxtPort platform connects thousands of users," he said. "We are proud that our state-of-the-art technology, made in Flanders, has reached the other side of the world to support the digitalisation of ports."
Offshore wind energy
The agreement on green hydrogen cooperation focuses on research and development, business development, supply chain, mobility and green steel. It will also cover offshore wind energy. Some 60 meetings on the subject have been organised during the business mission.
Diependaele is representing Flanders during the 10-day Belgian economic mission to Australia, which ends on 28 October. The mission is led by Princess Astrid. She is accompanied by a delegation including Foreign Affairs minister Hadja Lahbib, Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort and Walloon minister for Economic Affairs Willy Borsus.
Princess Astrid and Matthias Diependaele at a demonstration of the Belgian smart logistics digital platform in Sydney, 23 October © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE