Monthly Archives: November 2013

Nidera Argentina in top ten sustainable companies

nideraOn November 18th 2013, Nidera Argentina received a Good Corporate Citizen Award, a prize awarded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Argentina (AmCham). At a ceremony attended by more than 400 executives, academics and field specialists, Nidera was recognized for its corporate management oriented towards sustainability. Continue reading

What gets some product content talked about more than others?

RSM+logo+1jpgWithout actually knowing what drives and shapes consumers sharing information, companies invest huge amounts of time and money to make sure consumers talk favourably about their products, share their viral advertisements or make their slogans catch on. New research by PhD candidate Ezgi Akpinar of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) reveals three surprising psychological drivers that boost word of mouth. Continue reading

Van Oord-GMB reinforce Dordrecht Island

logo-vanoordThe Van Oord-GMB joint venture has been awarded a contract by the Hollandse Delta Water Board to reinforce the dikes on Dordrecht Island. The total contract value amounts to more than EUR 21 million. The work will commence in mid-2014 and will continue until the end of 2016. The joint venture will be responsible for the design and construction. Continue reading

Royal HaskoningDHV achieves Level 2 Black Economic-Empowerment status in South Africa

logo-rhdhv-largeRoyal HaskoningDHV was one of the very first independent consulting engineering companies in Southern Africa and later, also one of the first to be established as an empowerment company. Continue reading

IMF sees Mexican economy on the right track

latamOn November 25, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Mexico. Over the last year, Mexico has maintained macroeconomic policy continuity, while pursuing an ambitious agenda of growth-enhancing reforms. Reforms have already been approved to upgrade education, make labor markets more flexible, and foster competition in telecommunications. Congress is currently debating a fundamental reform of the energy sector and is in the final stages of approving a financial sector reform. In October 2013, Congress modified the fiscal framework, reformed the main taxes and introduced a universal pension scheme and unemployment insurance. Continue reading

Unilever completes Skippy sale in China

unilever logoUnilever completed the sale of its Skippy business in China to Hormel Foods. This follows completion of the sale of the rest of the global Skippy business to Hormel Foods on January 31, 2013. On January 3, the two companies announced the global deal for approximately $700 million, including the Skippy trademarks and two manufacturing facilities (in the U.S. and China).

Vopak divests Vopak Terminals Pasir Gudang

logo_vopakRoyal Vopak completed the divestment of its 100%-equity interest in Vopak Terminals Pasir Gudang Sdn Bhd (VTPG) in Malaysia to PGEO Group Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wilmar International Limited. The divestment of this 20,160 cbm chemicals terminal is part of the continuous drive to further align our terminal network with long-term market developments. The result on the sale of the terminal will be reported in Q4 as an exceptional gain, which will not have any material impact on the financial results.

Boskalis orders IHC megacutter

megacutterRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. has ordered a new self-propelled megacutter from IHC Merwede. This self-propelled cutter suction dredger, with a total installed power of 23,700 kW and a pump ashore capacity of 15,600 kW, is a replacement investment. The total investment amounts to around EUR 170 million and construction of the vessel is expected to take more than three years. A cutter suction dredger is a vessel that dredges while being held into place using spuds and anchors. This technique combines powerful cutting with suction dredging. Cutter suction dredgers are mainly used where the underwater surface is hard and compact. The dredged material is sometimes loaded into barges but is generally pumped to land through a pressure pipeline.

British Airways to fly Rotterdam-London City

British Airways plcBritish Airways will – due to growing demand – open a new route between Rotterdam The Hague Airport and London City Airport in March 2014. The new service will see a Saab SF-2000 turboprop aircraft (leased from Eastern Airways) fly up and down five times a day. The 50-passenger Saab SF-2000 will be replaced from September 2014 by a bigger plane, an Embraer 170, with a 76-seat capacity. The new route comes on top of a twice daily BA flight between Rotterdam and London Heathrow, that connects the Rotterdam region to the world via BA’s intercontinental services.

Will a cabinet reshuffle save the Polish government?

By Remi Adekoya

donald tuskPrime Minister Donald Tusk has seen his popularity tank in recent months. The party he leads, Civic Platform (PO), is hardly in better shape. The latest TNS Polska poll showed the ruling party trailing its biggest rival opposition Law and Justice by 9 percentage points. Recent weeks have seen financial scandals come to light involving PO politicians. These are not happy days for the PM and his party. And so Mr Tusk has decided his government needs a make-over replacing seven ministers including the man who has been in charge of Poland’s finances for the past 6 years, Jacek Rostowski. The environment ministry, sports and tourism ministry, higher education and science ministry, digitalization and administration ministry and education ministry also all have new bosses as of today. Continue reading

Israelis, Saudis and the Iranian Agreement

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanA deal between Iran and the P-5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) was reached Saturday night. The Iranians agreed to certain limitations on their nuclear program while the P-5+1 agreed to remove certain economic sanctions. The next negotiation, scheduled for six months from now depending on both sides’ adherence to the current agreement, will seek a more permanent resolution. The key players in this were the United States and Iran. The mere fact that the U.S. secretary of state would meet openly with the Iranian foreign minister would have been difficult to imagine a few months ago, and unthinkable at the beginning of the Islamic republic.  Continue reading

Rotterdam 2014 port tariffs kept at 2008 level

portofrotterdamOver the past years the Port Authority discounted the port tariffs substantially in connection with the economic situation. Last year this was about 8.5%. Those annual discounts have now become structural. At the same time, the tariffs will rise by 1% next year compared with 2013. This brings the port tariffs for 2014 to precisely the same level as in 2008. This is what the Port of Rotterdam Authority decided following constructive consultation with the port business sector. Continue reading

How to Stop Elite Republican Plans to Take the GOP Down The Way of the Whigs

by Ralph Benko

GOP_Logo1_svgAmidst the Democratic Party meltdown might elite Republican Party  operatives snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?  Don’t rule it out.   Many elite Republicans lust to steer their party the way of the Whigs. The Whigs?  This month a candidate of the Whig Party, long believed extinct, won an election for the first time in 160 years.  This scoop was reported by MyFoxNY, Philadelphia voters elect Whig to public office. Continue reading

More Michelin stars for Rotterdam restaurants

wereldmMichelin has awarded several restaurants in the Netherlands with new stars for 2014. Though Rotterdam must still do without a Michelin 3-star restaurant ever since chef Cees Helder left Parkheuvel, the city can’t complain about a lack of culinary venues. Two restaurants gained a second Michelin star: Fred and François Geurds aka FG Restaurant, bringing the total of Michelin 2-star eateries in the city to three (the third one being of course Parkheuvel). Rotterdam now also boasts two 1-star restaurants. Besides Amarone, that maintained its star, Michelin awarded the Wereldmuseum‘s dining place one as well. In the Rotterdam region, De Zwetheul in Schipluiden kept its two stars, while Perceel in Capelle aan de IJssel and Hermitage in Rijsoord kept their single stars. Congratulations!

Cambridge Innovation Center looking for expansion in Rotterdam

cicoldOn Thursday 21 November 2013 a letter of intent has been signed between the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), represented by CEO Tim Rowe, and the city of Rotterdam, represented by Vice Mayor Jeannette Baljeu. The parties have expressed the intention to conduct a feasibility study in order to evaluate whether Rotterdam is a suitable location for CIC. To support CIC during their study the city has put together a team including the Rotterdam Investment Agency and Deloitte. Continue reading

Unilever builds new factory in Turkey

unilever logoUnilever announced an investment of over €150 million in a new manufacturing plant in Konya (Turkey) to increase its capacity for sustainable growth in Home and Personal Care. The development of the plant will enable the company to significantly increase its production capacity to match its growth ambitions and will produce brands including OMO, Domestos, Yumoş, Cif, Rinso, Elidor and Dove. Continue reading

Better Urban Transport and Access to Public Services in Rio

rioMore than 11 million people living in Rio de Janeiro’s Metropolitan Area will benefit from new policies designed to better integrate different modes of the city’s transport system. The Enhancing Public Management for Service Delivery in Rio de Janeiro Program, a US$ 500 million policy loan approved by the World Bank Board of Directors will also support improvements to the planning and monitoring of public expenditures and a special program to expand women’s access to social and economic opportunities. Continue reading

De Rotterdam, vertical city by Rem Koolhaas, completed

derotterdamThe largest multifunctional building in the Netherlands has been completed. Less than 4 years after starting construction, MAB Development and OVG Real Estate have handed over De Rotterdam to its future users. After a period of finishing and furnishing, residents will start to move into this vertical city, designed by OMA, in early 2014. De Rotterdam, totalling 160.000 m2 of floor space on an area the size of just one football field, is a building that calls for superlatives. When, probably in the autumn of 2014 the entire building is occupied (around 85% has already been rented out or sold), the total number of people on the Wilhelmina Pier will be doubled. On average around 5,000 people will be in the building on a daily basis. Aside from being the most densely built-up piece of land in the Netherlands, this will make it the most densely populated area too (OVG).

Google Flights is the ultimate traveller’s tool

By Arnout Nuijt

rtmairportIf you are a frequent flyer you may have struggled more than once to find the information you wanted on the net when booking your next trip. Try for instance to find out from what airports you can fly to Perugia for that short holiday in Umbria. You would have to search databases like Amadeus or Expedia and type in various departure points to find out whether you can fly from there. But you would also have to try all days of the week for each departure and destination combination. Flight search works like that.  It’s a tedious and frustrating job. And then these travel sites hardly ever include budget airlines, something you will be definitely looking for. So, you search all of those sites as well and it will cost you an hour or so to find out all your flight options.

No longer. Continue reading

Auction system in Naaldwijk renovated

logo_florahollandOnce the renovation of the auction system in Naaldwijk is complete, these systems at the export locations will finally be uniform. What will change for auction clock buyers in Naaldwijk? Continue reading

Co-working to boost business for freelancers

RSM+logo+1jpgCo-working, the practice of independent workers sharing an office with others rather than working alone at home, generates jobs, forms professional collaborations and increases business know-how. New independent research by Associate Professor Vareska van de Vrande of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), shows co-working contributes positively to the position of self-employed professionals in Dutch society. Continue reading

The Aligment Factor launched on Brazilian market

reputacaoThe Portuguese version of Rotterdam School of Management Professor Cees van Riel’s highly acclaimed book entitled “The Alignment Factor – Leveraging the Power of Total Stakeholder Support”, published last year, has now been presented in Brazil as well with talks in Itaú, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte. Entitled “Reputação: o valor estratégico do engajamento de stakeholders”, this book is the first title in Portuguese about reputation, alignment and the strategic role of communication. In it, Van Riel points out specifically the strategic relevance of communication in the construction of long-term relationships and alignment with stakeholders, so that the professionals in the area must develop further competences. Continue reading

Construction starts on Container Transferium Alblasserdam

container-transferium-a_iStrabag Nederland started constructing the quay for Container Transferium Alblasserdam this month. The grooved-in quay is 255 metres long and recessed 30 metres on the Noord river. Behind it is the 4-hectares terminal at Nieuwland business park, close to the A15 motorway. It is anticipated that the new port site can be delivered to terminal operator BCTN at the end of 2014. BCTN can then start handling containers at the start of 2015. Continue reading

Van Oord wins Surabaya contract

logo-vanoordVan Oord has been awarded the contract for constructing land at the port in Surabaya, Indonesia. An industrial estate will be built on the new land. The client is a public-private partnership that includes the port authority. The contract value is EUR 20 million. Continue reading

Unilever sells brands

unilever logoUnilever announced that it has signed an agreement for the sale of its Soft & Beautiful, TCB and Pro-Line Comb-Thru brands to Strength of Nature for an undisclosed amount. The sale excludes TCB’s business in Africa. Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, said: “Soft & Beautiful, TCB and Pro-Line Comb-Thru are each terrific brands with a long legacy in the ethnic hair care category. These brands are part of one of the fastest growing categories in the personal care sector and we believe their potential can now be more fully realised with Strength of Nature.” Continue reading

Boskalis and VolkerWessels in cable joint venture

cableRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) and Royal Volker Wessels Stevin N.V. (VolkerWessels) have combined their forces in the field of offshore cable installation by establishing a 50/50 joint venture. The joint venture creates a strong party combining know-how and equipment allowing it to respond effectively to growth in the market for offshore cable installation projects, particularly in relation to offshore wind farms. Continue reading

Letter from Tangier

By Reva Bhalla

stratforMorocco rarely figures into international news headlines these days,  something of a virtue in this restive part of the world. The term Maghreb, which  translates as “land of the setting sun,” eventually came to denote a stretch of  land starting in the Western Sahara and running through the Atlas Mountains and  ending before the Nile River Valley, encompassing modern-day Morocco, Algeria,  Tunisia and Libya. However, the Maghreb originally meant the lands that define  Morocco, where the setting sun marked the Western frontier of the Islamic  empire.

This evening in Tangier, I watch as ribbons of intense red and orange weave  through plum-tinted clouds and settle behind the mountains on the Spanish  coastline. Continue reading

Global economy still recovering at moderate pace but more risks ahead

logooecd_enThe global economy is expected to continue expanding at a moderate pace over the coming two years, but policymakers must ensure that instability in financial markets and underlying fragility in some major economies are not allowed to derail growth, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook. Growth in the United States is projected at a 2.9% rate in 2014 and a 3.4% rate in 2015. In Japan, GDP is expected to drop to a 1.5% growth rate in 2014 and a 1% rate in 2015. The euro area is expected to witness a gradual recovery, with growth of 1% in 2014 and 1.6% in 2015. Continue reading

Port of Rotterdam strenghtens hub function for Eastern Europe

terminalSeacon Logistics has started a rail service between Poland and the United Kingdom for a number of large shippers, via the port of Rotterdam. The Russian Fesco Transportation Group has started a regular weekly service between North America and Saint Petersburg via transhipment in the port of Rotterdam. Continue reading

Boskalis deepens Southampton approach

logoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) has acquired a contract from Associated British Ports for the capital dredging of the approach channel to the port of Southampton in the United Kingdom. The contract has a value of approximately EUR 35 million and the activities are due to commence shortly. Continue reading

Let John Boehner fix Obamacare

by Ralph Benko

glass_surgeryBetter the loss of office than of honor.

If he cannot prevent the botch of Obamacare from becoming a blunder  the honorable course for President Obama is to resign, together with his vice president, from office.  Let John Boehner — next in line of  succession — assume the office of the presidency and correct “the single worst piece of legislation that’s been passed in modern times.”

Mr. President, according to McClatchy  “11 million who bought their own insurance … could lose their plans.”  And: “as many as 41 million people could lose their plans even if they  wanted to keep them and would be forced into other plans.” Continue reading

Port of Rotterdam looks beyond 2040

terminalThe Port of Rotterdam Authority has had the Club of Rome models applied to the port of Rotterdam: what do the expected increase in the world population, scarcity of raw materials, agricultural land and fossil fuels, etc. mean for the development of the port in the period up to 2100? The study suggests that there will be a turning point around 2040 and that the later society switches to sustainable means of production and consumption patterns, the greater the decline will be after 2040. Throughput will perhaps even halve in the second half of the century. Continue reading

Economic Climate Index for Latin America remains stable

latamThe Ifo/FGV Economic Climate Index for Latin America (ECI) – developed in partnership between the German Ifo Institute and the FGV taking as a data source the Ifo World Economic Survey (WES) – repeated in October the result of the last survey in July (4.4 points). The stability was determined by the combination of worsening in the Ifo/FGV Present Situation Index (PSI) (to 4.0 from 4.5 points) and improvement of the Ifo/FGV Expectations Index (EI) (to 4,8 from 4.3 points). Despite the improvement in expectations, both indicators were below the historical average of the last ten years, remaining in the zone of unfavorable assessing. Continue reading

ECB improves climate for equities

europebynight3The surprise but welcome rate cut by the European Central Bank (ECB) has improved the climate for equities, says Robeco’s portfolio manager for Global Allocations. The rally in share prices driven by extra liquidity from monetary easing throughout this year is likely to continue, Lukas Daalder believes.  As a result, Robeco Asset Allocation has increased its overweight position to equities. At the same time, underweight positions in government bonds have been raised, as lower rates means reduced yields on sovereign debt, Daalder says. Continue reading

New name and new date for FloraHolland Trade Fair Naaldwijk

logo_florahollandThe Trade Fair Naaldwijk will be held on Wednesday to Friday, 19 – 21 March 2014. And it will now be called the FloraHolland Seasonal Trade Fair.

With this change, FloraHolland wants to emphasise the more seasonal aspects of the fair, making the profile clearer for visitors. The location remains Naaldwijk. Members and candidate-members of FloraHolland can register for a stand from today.

SBM reports strong revenue growth

sbmYear-to-date 2013 Directional revenues are up 25% to US$2.6 billion, IFRS revenues up 40% to US$3.4 billion. FPSO Stones adds US$2.1 billion to Directional Backlog which at US$24.4 billion is highest in company history. FPSO OSX 2 is delivered and paid as per contract. FPSO Cidade de Paraty successfully achieved a contract milestone for start-up of gas compression and processing. Deep Panuke MOPU is in production since August although Production Acceptance Notice (PAN) has been delayed.  Continue reading

Boskalis raises 2013 net profit outlook to at least EUR 360 million

logoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) has concluded an exceptionally good third quarter. Revenue, adjusted for the sale of the 40% stake in Archirodon, and earnings were higher than in the first and second quarter of 2013 against stable market conditions. The order book increased compared to the end of the first half of the year and adjusted for the sale of the 40% stake in Archirodon, to EUR 4.3 billion. Continue reading

Unilever shifts European marketing to Rotterdam

unilever logoLeading FMCG-manufacturer Unilever brought regional brand developers from 11 different European locations to Rotterdam – the home of its new European Marketing and Innovation Powerhouse. All of Unilever’s European marketing activities, worth an impressive €13bn, will be managed out of the company’s new marketing and innovation HQ, located at Unilever’s Weena office in central Rotterdam. Continue reading

IHC Merwede CEO resigns

ihcIHC Merwede’s CEO, Dirk Philips, will step back from his role within the company. Over the past two months, he has led the Board of Management to formulate some important aspects of IHC Merwede’s future business strategy, as well as the appropriate organisation required to implement it. The mutual decision on the timing of Mr Philips’ retirement from his role coincides with the successful completion of this phase of the company’s mission. Continue reading

Damen delivers Fourth PSV ‘World Emerald’

damenpsvDamen Shipyards Group has recently delivered the fourth Platform Supply Vessel in a series of six to World Wide Supply of Norway. World Emerald is a Damen PSV 3300 CD. The first ship, World Diamond, was delivered in July. The fifth PSV ‘World Opel’, will be handed over in a few weeks and the last in the series ‘World Sapphire’ is due to be delivered mid-December. Continue reading