The first WPTS World Ports Award has been presented by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, in the presence of Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), to the CEO of the Port of Antwerp during a prestigious gala dinner to celebrate the 2nd World Ports and Trade Summit, held in association with ADPC (Abu Dhabi Ports Company). The award was given to Eddy Bruyninckx, CEO of the Port of Antwerp in recognition of the outstanding job he has done in the Port of Antwerp over a period of 20 years, in the fields of business development, port organisation, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.Given during a prestigious evening attended by distinguished guests and industry experts at Abu Dhabi’s new Rocco Forte Hotel, the award signifies the growth of the World Ports and Trade Summit into a truly global event. Taking place until the 4th April at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi, the event has seen some of the industry’s most eminent speakers in town to discuss strategy, global growth and the future of the ports market regionally and internationally. Receiving the award, Mr Bruyninckx, said: “It is a great honour for the Port of Antwerp to be rewarded with the WPTS World Port Award. We consider this Award as a recognition for the efforts that the Antwerp Port Authority - not only the CEO, but also the management committee and every one of our 1650 colleagues - has done over the past decades to develop the Port of Antwerp as a world class port. “Even when times were challenging, we stood up and developed, together with the private port companies, a ‘total plan for a more competitive port’, as an answer to the worldwide crisis of 2009. We specifically appreciate this consideration from the United Arab Emirates as we have been close partners in many fields in the past. In our joint interests lies also the importance of the economic development of our petrochemical industry and we are very much aware of the UAE’s vision to construct its own world-class downstream petrochemical industry. Emphasizing the need to think out of the box in difficult times, Mr Bruyninckx said: “While the EU as a whole is facing a crisis, we have been able to overcome challenges by thinking differently. It is important to look at ourselves from the outside as it is to look from the inside. That is why Port of Antwerp has laid emphasis on corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Our approach to sustainability is not just about sustainable environment but includes sustainable investments and sustainable jobs.” Mr Bruyninckx said Port of Antwerp is keen to participate in extended gateways. “A port is a link in a long logistical chain. Port of Antwerp is therefore taking initiatives to strengthen relations between the hinterland and the port,” he said. Stressing the need to create a global port community, Mr Bruyninckx saw possibilities of closer association with Abu Dhabi in view of the strong similarities with Antwerp, especially in petro chemical industry. “Investments in both regions create a lot of co-operation possibilities and this award to Antwerp shows that our efforts to collaborate and share expertise, together with our daughter company Port of Antwerp International. The port of Antwerp is a global player and the second largest port in Europe. It boasts a high level of synergy between maritime, logistical and industrial activities and a high cargo-generating capacity. This multifunctionality delivers high added value for the city, the region and the country. The businesses in the port need highly educated staff, and directly and indirectly create employment for over 147,000 people. The location of the port of Antwerp, about 80 kilometres inland, not only places the port in one of the busiest consumer centres in Europe, it also makes transport to the European hinterland more efficient and more sustainable. According to Tony Douglas, CEO of ADPC (Abu Dhabi Ports Company), and a judge on the awards panel: “The ports that were both shortlisted for this new award have shown exemplary levels of achievement, in areas such as technical and operational innovation, port organisation, the development of human resources, social and environmental responsibility, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. “Mr Bruyninckx’s 20-year ongoing commitment to the Port of Antwerp encompasses all of these factors, including most recently the publishing of the first, unique, Sustainability Report for the port of Antwerp, a ground-breaking report that is available from the port’s website.” “Eddie Bruyninckx is an outstanding innovator and leader in the world ports industry and we are delighted that he has been recognized with this award tonight,” said Chris Hayman, Chairman, Seatrade. In a video address during the event, Grant Gilfillan, First Vice President of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), and CEO, Sydney Ports Corporation, said: “The ports in the Middle East region form a mighty club. IAPH realises that it is important to bring changes, making use of opportunities by sharing ideas and establishing networks, which is what WPTS has achieved. Next year we are keen to bring the two conferences together to enhance information sharing.” The second World Ports & Trade Summit, held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi & Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, takes place from April 2 to 4 in Abu Dhabi and includes 3 days of exhibition, high level conference programme and networking. World Ports & Trade Summit is held in association with ADPC (Abu Dhabi Ports Company) and is jointly organised by Seatrade and Turret Media.