Yet another port has been positioned to serve as the European gateway for shipments to and from Mumbai. This time on 10 February the representatives of the city port of Rotterdam visited Mumbai and met those of the city port of Mumbai and resolved to work together leveraging the several similarities that the two possess for a mutually sustained and beneficial relationship. A letter of intent (LoI) was signed by the mayors of the two cities to that effect.
Earlier delegations from the port of Antwerp had visited India on at least three occasions to enter into agreements first with Mundra port then with Jawaharlal Nehru Port and signed memorandums of understanding (MoU). This time again while the Dutch delegation consisting of representatives of consulting firms, engineering, shipbuilding repairs and construction technology were in Mumbai, another delegation from the Port of Antwerp also visited Mumbai at the same time for exploring further areas of cooperation with Mumbai port.
Speaking prior to signing the letter of intent (LoI) the Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb stated, “It is the ambition of people that speaks. India has a lot to offer and so also our city. The area for cooperation is immense and India is an international player and the economy is booming. Democracy is an important factor in both our cases. It is a question of building trust without which there can be no business.”
One of the members of delegation, R. Buurman, Director of Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency and Rotterdam Investment Agency explained why Rotterdam, the 4 largest port with an annual throughput of 430 million tons was a gateway to European business. “There is no need to learn Dutch as almost all spoke English in Rotterdam. We have the lowest tax rate in Europe and we stimulate free flow of money. We are the free centre of major international businesses. Rotterdam is the first port of call for ships coming from Asia and offers the lowest port charges, lowest warehouse and office space rent compared to the rest of Europe.”
The LoI signed by Shraddha Jadhav, Mayor of Mumbai and Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam made mention about the mutual beneficial opportunities for the communities and citizens of both cities that will flow from cooperation and understanding between Mumbai and Rotterdam.
The opportunities that were cited in the LOI included urban development including the waterfront development, logistics including ports and shipping among others. The two sides agreed to develop procedures and plans for the implementation of a working program of cooperation in areas of common interests, encourage and facilitate other contacts, as well as promote effective cooperation and the exchange of ideas.
The Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry instrumental in arranging the visit of the Dutch representatives considers the Netherland as world leader in various sectors offering the latest technology innovations to Indian companies. Most players look upon Rotterdam as one of the main ports for business as it is the largest industrial hubs of Europe.