Highlights of the trade mission to Canada

From 22 until 28 October, the City of Antwerp organised, along with its partners Port of Antwerp (PoA) and Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC), a city mission to Toronto and Montreal, two cities with plenty of potential for Antwerp enterprises. More than 80 companies and organisations participated in the mission.


The Port of Antwerp explored several business opportunities during various events in Toronto and Montreal. Canada is a very important country for Antwerp’s port industry, accounting for 4.6 million tons of transported goods every year. The Canadian port of Montreal especially is a major gateway to the Canadian and American markets.


During the mission, the Antwerp delegation had the unique opportunity to take a look behind the scenes at the Renard diamond mine in Québec. Since 2017, this mine’s entire production is traded exclusively through Antwerp. Canada is the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds and a growing number of Canadian mining companies are choosing Antwerp as a trade partner because of the great transparency and expertise it contributes.


The mission was also quite successful in its endeavour in terms of potential investments. The Canadian waste processing company Enerkem has plans to invest in Antwerp. Evidence of the growing international recognition of Antwerp as a city that invests in clean technology.

A masterpiece by Rubens to Antwerp for the Baroque year

Knowledge exchange sessions were organised on child-care and education, and the cultural ties were also strengthened. During a visit by the Antwerp delegation, the Art Gallery of Ontario agreed to loan Peter Paul Rubens’s “Massacre of the Innocents” for the upcoming Baroque year.

Mayor’s response

Antwerp’s mayor Bart De Wever was very satisfied about the mission’s outcome: “Antwerp is the European city that stands to benefit the most from the free trade with Canada. We are the most important port for North America. I met with dozens of companies this week and they are all interested in growing their trade with our port.”

On 21 and 22 March, the City of Antwerp will receive a delegation of seven European cities (Berlin, Lisbon, Tallinn, Warsaw, Reims, Seville and Florence) and their stakeholders in the framework of the European SPEED UP Interreg programme.
Logistics company H.Essers is expanding considerably in Wilrijk. As well as increasing their warehousing space, they are making major investments in high-tech waste installations and tank terminals for the chemical industry.
In september, start-up BestBrain was the winner of the Antwerp Pitch Competition at the DLD Innovation Festival in Tel Aviv.