In Depth: Guest column: Maritime excellence, the strength of the Dutch

The Netherlands traditionally has a very strong maritime sector which operates worldwide. The country offers Rotterdam as the largest port in Europe (and in addition Amsterdam ports as number 4), a large international and domestic fleet, an innovative offshore industry, leading dredgers, a highly efficient shipbuilding industry with innovative equipment suppliers, a modern navy and a customer-oriented maritime service industry. This is all available in a relatively small area such as the Netherlands.

The Netherlands, geographically, consists of a lot of water and has a coast line which needs to be defended against the forces of nature, so the Dutch know how to deal with water. For leisure and recreation, a lot of young people learn how to sail small boats, while at the same time the Netherlands is market leader in the global exclusive super yacht industry. Mastering this element of nature, we offer excellent maritime educational and research institutes. While maritime businesses are directing the way to fundamental research, it is applied research that leads to great innovations and profit.

Knowledgeable and innovative people combined with entrepreneurship leads to business profitability. Newspapers are full of articles on growing maritime businesses, export orders, expanding companies abroad, and also with a call for more technically skilled young staff. The shortage of young technical graduates could become a risk for our success, however recently, high schools and universities are reporting increasing numbers of applications. A challenge for the industry is to secure sufficient traineeships as part of the educational programme.

Exploring countries’ maritime heritage is done best by combining all efforts of individual trade associations on common themes. Maritime by Holland (Nederland Maritiem Land) is the network association providing the maritime umbrella. When we talk about innovation, human capital, or international trading, joint efforts as a complete maritime sector under the umbrella is preferred above individual action. United, the maritime sector, with 180,000 employees and 12,000 companies, has become a sector which really contributes to the GNP of the Netherlands.

Supported by the maritime leader firms and our government, the Netherlands is able to excel in the global maritime marketplace. Hundreds of years of experience in all circumstances worldwide has led to high quality and punctual delivery.

We are very proud of our maritime heritage, products and services we deliver today and we will show this to the world during Europort. But we will also focus on our human capital agenda, maritime professionals will perform as guest lecturers, and will bring their enthusiasm about the maritime sector across 300 classes nationwide, stimulating the maritime interest of the younger generation, investing in the future of ‘Maritime by Holland’. By doing so we ensure sufficient talented staff for expanding our maritime tradition into the future.

Arjen Uytendaal
Managing Director Maritime by Holland

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