Opening its doors for its 37th edition, Europort placed Rotterdam at the heart of the global maritime industry. Setting the tempo on a week of focus on the areas of innovation that will bring real value to the sector, the opening ceremony delivered an energetic start to the week, this year concentrating on the theme of advancing maritime leadership.
Maritime leaders from both the current industry and those tipped to be leaders of the future joined the opening celebrations. This year’s ‘Young Maritime Representatives’, Sophie ten Zeldem and Dominique Smit kicked off the proceedings with an ‘opening ceremony selfie’, which aptly set the tone of this year’s forward looking schedule.
A percussion band helped drum home the message of venerable industry leaders; Harold Linssen, Director of Keppel Verolme and “Port Personality of the Year 2014″, Vice admiral Matthieu Borsboom, Director of the Defence Materials Organisation, and Jan Valkier, CEO of the Anthony Veder Group sharing individual visions concerning the advancement of the global maritime industry.
“A maritime leader is someone who stands on the beach, looks at the sea and understands that the horizon is not the end but the bridge”, stated Admiral Borsboom, when asked for his thoughts on leadership. He went on to say that, “it is all about the ability to see the possibilities over the horizon”, and that he believes innovation is fundamentally important across the board, not just within the sphere of technology.
Jolanda Janssen, CEO of Ahoy Rotterdam told the audience that Europort had not only built upon the long maritime heritage of the Netherlands and the national affinity for innovation but that the show holds a special position within the maritime arena as a platform for connecting maritime professionals from every sphere of the industry and from across all continents. She said, “Europort is respected for its wide variety of all disciplines on show, from complex vessel types, to offshore, to dredging. This week all people with a role in the maritime industry gather together and share knowledge and we are very happy that we can facilitate that.”
Collaboration and cooperation, as intrinsic factors in successful leadership, were strong themes to emerge from the other industry leaders speaking at the ceremony and in particular from special guest Bouwe Bekking, Skipper of the Brunel Team in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Bekking spoke passionately about leadership, sharing his experiences and that of his team saying, “You can’t do it all by yourself. The team is the instrument of your success.”
Europort mirrors this idea of the ‘team’, drawing together all elements of the maritime community into one space in order to share innovations, knowledge and experience and connect in order to advance the industry together.
Europort 2015 is opening to a record number of exhibitors with over 1,100 companies present, representing 45 countries and covering 45,000sqm of Ahoy Rotterdam.