Sector federation essenscia vlaanderen highlighted the many assets of the chemical sector in Flanders during an investment seminar in Moscow. The port of Antwerp is home to the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe and was therefore one of the economic spearheads during the City of Antwerp’s trade mission to Moscow and Saint Petersburg. For example, more than half of Belgium’s exports to Russia come from the chemical, plastics and pharmaceuticals sectors.

The chemical sector, together with the port and the diamond industry, was one of the main economic themes during the Antwerp trade mission to Russia led by Mayor Bart De Wever. An investment seminar was planned in Moscow to highlight the assets of the chemical cluster in the port of Antwerp for Russian companies and investors.

Export to Moscow

Of the total Belgian exports to Russia last year, no less than 53% came from the chemical and life sciences sector, representing a turnover of €2.1 billion. As far as Flanders is concerned, exports to Russia of plastics as well as chemicals and pharmaceutical products increased by 16% last year. Russia is also the second most important overseas trading partner for the port of Antwerp, with traffic of 14 million tonnes of goods in 2017.

Welcome team for the chemical sector

Frank Beckx, Managing Director of essenscia vlaanderen and Chairman of BlueChem, said: “The aim of this trade mission is to put the chemical sector in Antwerp and Flanders even more firmly on the international map. We have a great many logistical advantages: we are the largest integrated and most diverse chemical cluster in Europe with excellent domestic and overseas connections, we lie at the heart of the Western European pipeline network and we have a unique capacity of almost 10 million m³ of tank storage, which means that a quarter of all chemicals in Europe are stored in our country. Moreover, we have talented employees with specialised knowledge and skills we can rely on, we are building the future with BlueChem, the incubator for sustainable chemistry that opens in Antwerp in 2020 and, together with Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), we recently set up a Welcome Team for the Chemical Sector to provide the best possible support for foreign investment projects.


The trade mission’s delegation also visited leading research and innovation centres such as the Skolkovo Innovation Center and the TechnoSpark incubator. There was also a meeting with the Russian chemical company EuroChem, which has had a major fertiliser production facility in Antwerp with almost 400 employees since 2012.