A delegation from the aigo Entrepreneurs Alliance (AEA) led by the Global Institute of Logistics toured Europe in April 2014 to investigate Port Centric investment opportunities.

The tour which included visits to 3 of GIL’s Chairports, Zeebrugge, Cork and Tenerife was designed to give AEA an insight in to the operation of ports in the Europe and West Africa, and to further convince them that Port Centric investment provides a distinct advantage in planning global distribution and manufacturing systems. GIL used the opportunity to introduce AEA to its China Gateways project and seek their support in their development.
The aigo Entrepreneurs Alliance was founded in 2011 to promote leading brands from China’s rapidly growing private sector. AEA is driven by the goal of helping more private Chinese businesses to become truly global enterprises and contributing corporate citizens worldwide.

The port of Zeebrugge has an ideal location to serve the markets of continental Europe as well as the British Isles. It is a young seaport with modern port equipment suitable for the largest ships. Total cargo traffic through the Port tripled from 14 million tonnes in 1985 to 43.5 million tonnes in 2012. The port of Zeebrugge has become, in barely a couple of decades, one of the most important entry ports for the European market.

The goal of ‘China Gateway’ is to create a “Home from Home” for Chinese companies going global by zoning areas in Ports specifically for Trade with China. The goal is to standardise the development of these parks in such a way to provide economies of scale, consistency, reliability, standardisation and add value to services rendered. Potentially ‘China Gateway’ will become a trademark associated with excellence in doing business with China.

There is a potential for world ports to cooperate on zoning part of their ports as China Gateways to assist both import and export trade with China. These will serve as a trading ‘Gateways’ into world markets and being Port Centric will benefit from excellent transport connectivity via road, rail, water and air. China Gateways will include Showroom Spaces, Warehousing/Storage and Assembly Facilities, and sell goods to the wholesale market.

To win Chinese investment requires a strong understanding of its business culture and particularly the emphasis placed on Cooperation and Collaboration between business partners. For this reason, the China Gateway concept has Chinese Characteristics relying for its success on strong cooperation between a network of ports across the globe. China Gateways has the potential to become a recognisable ‘Trademark’ in global logistics.