Another iconic Dubai project awarded to Van Oord

logo-vanoordDeveloper Nakheel has appointed Van Oord to deliver the new waterfront of Deira Islands. Deira was constructed by Van Oord between 2005 and 2008. Deira Islands will become a new 15.3 km2 waterfront city in Dubai. Part of the new scope is building a 23.5 km coastline and breakwaters. Continue reading “Another iconic Dubai project awarded to Van Oord”

Gate terminal starts construction of LNG break bulk facility at the port of Rotterdam

portofrotterdamGate terminal (main shareholders Gasunie and Royal Vopak) announced the ceremonial start of the construction activities for the new LNG break bulk infrastructure at its site at the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam. The Port of Rotterdam has begun with the excavation of a new harbour basin next to Gate terminal. The new facility is expected to boost the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a cleaner and affordable transportation fuel in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe.

Continue reading “Gate terminal starts construction of LNG break bulk facility at the port of Rotterdam”

Kotug and Smit to merge European towage

Kotug_logologoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) and Kotug International B.V. (Kotug) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to merge their European harbour towage operations. The companies will establish a 50/50 joint venture for this purpose, combining the European harbour towage activities of Smit, a Boskalis subsidiary, with the European harbour towage activities of Kotug. This merger is the concluding step in Boskalis’ strategy aimed at establishing regional partnerships for its harbour towage activities, as was previously done through Smit Lamnalco, Keppel Smit and most recently Saam Smit. By joining forces opportunities are created to achieve cost and market synergies as well as a more efficient capital structure. Continue reading “Kotug and Smit to merge European towage”

Rotterdam Makes it Happen

rotterdampartnersThe Municipality of Rotterdam, Port of Rotterdam Authority (PoR), Erasmus University of Rotterdam and Rotterdam Partners are joining hands to put Rotterdam more clearly on the map, both at home and abroad. The concerted profile under the motto ‘Make it Happen’ reflects the typical Rotterdam mentality and shows what the city, port and inhabitants stand for: pioneering, groundbreaking and no-nonsense. This unique collaboration aims to attract and retain the highly educated, businesses, trade, visitors and citizens. Continue reading “Rotterdam Makes it Happen”

SBM Offshore restructuring

sbmSBM Offshore announced it will be restructuring the company and move its headoffice to Amsterdam. In light of market conditions and in order to optimise the company’s cost base, capacity requirements have been reviewed with the objective of creating a productive environment for performing teams and maintaining core competencies and technological edge. Regretfully SBM Offshore is in the process of releasing approximately 600 contractor staff and an equal number of permanent staff, totalling approximately 1,200 positions worldwide, over the period 2014 and 2015. Continue reading “SBM Offshore restructuring”

Van Oord acquires activities of Ballast Nedam Offshore

logo-vanoordVan Oord late November reached agreement on the acquisition of the activities of Ballast Nedam Offshore. The acquisition consists of the assets of Ballast Nedam Offshore, the dedicated EPCI staff (Engineering, Procurement, Contracting and Installation), heavy lift installation vessel Svanen and the Westermeerwind project (144 MW). The activities will be integrated into Van Oord’s Offshore Wind Projects business unit. The acquisition will strengthen Van Oord’s leading position in the offshore wind market for north west Europe. Continue reading “Van Oord acquires activities of Ballast Nedam Offshore”

Erasmus, Stellenbosch Universities join forces

logoeurErasmus University Rotterdam and Stellenbosch University (South Africa) are going to collaborate even more intensively. On Tuesday, 11 November 2014, Rector Magnificus Prof. Huibert Pols, on behalf of Erasmus University, and Prof. Johan Hattingh, on behalf of SU, signed a Memorandum of Understanding and a partnership agreement in respect of a joint PhD programme. There is already faculty and institutional level cooperation with Stellenbosch University. Continue reading “Erasmus, Stellenbosch Universities join forces”

Vueling to fly Rotterdam-Barcelona route

rtmairportSpanish airline Vueling announced it will fly between Rotterdam (RTM) and Barcelona (BCN) airports from April 2015. Flights will take place four times a week: on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Flights are already bookable at http://www.vueling.com. The Vueling flights come on top of those carried out by Dutch airline Transavia (of the Air France-KLM Group), that connect the two cities four times a week already. The frequency of Transavia’s flights will be increased to 6 or 7 per week during summer 2015. The abundance of cheap flights between RTM and BCN will contribute to the growing tourist and business links between the metropolitan area of Barcelona (5,4 million people and the capital of independence-minded Catalonia) and the metropolitan region of Rotterdam-The Hague (2,5 million inhabitants and combining the largest port on the Atlantic with the political capital of the Netherlands).

Boskalis acquires 15% of Fugro

logoboskalisRoyal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) last week acquired a 14.8% stake in Fugro N.V. Boskalis said it views Fugro as an interesting company with activities that fit very well with its own activities. Boskalis wants to enter into a dialogue with Fugro to explore possible options for cooperation. Boskalis stressed that it has no intention to make an offer for Fugro. Continue reading “Boskalis acquires 15% of Fugro”

Erasmus University rises in worldwide rankings

logoeurErasmus University Rotterdam has risen slightly in the QS World University Rankings. In this year’s  ranking of approximately 800 universities worldwide, the university is ranked at 90, two places higher than last year. The 90th place is the highest position of the Erasmus University in the QS World University Rankings since 2006. The Rotterdam based university is the fifth ranked Dutch university in the list. Continue reading “Erasmus University rises in worldwide rankings”

Dutch remain 8th in Global Competitiveness

RSM+logo+1jpgThe Dutch remain in the eighth place in the Global Competitiveness Report compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The Report assesses the competitiveness of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. Data for the Netherlands was collected by research institute INSCOPE: Research for Innovation at Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), and was led by Professor Henk Volberda. Continue reading “Dutch remain 8th in Global Competitiveness”

Ecuador buys two Damen Stan Patrol vessels

Damen_Stan_Patrol_VesselDamen has recently signed a contract with Astilleros Navales Ecuatorianos (Astinave) to construct two Damen SPa’s 5009 for the Ecuadorian Coastguard. The Ecuadorian shipyard will build both vessels locally with Damen Technical Cooperation, which is Damen’s method of ‘building on site’. Continue reading “Ecuador buys two Damen Stan Patrol vessels”

Van Oord to build largest Dutch offshore wind project

logo-vanoordThe Gemini offshore wind project shareholders, headed by Canada’s Northland Power Inc., announced that they have reached agreement with the banks on the project’s financing. The financial close will contribute EUR 2.3 billion to the overall construction costs of EUR 2.8 billion. Van Oord has a 10% equity stake in this project. The other shareholders are Northland Power Inc. (60%), Siemens Project Ventures (20%) and HVC (10%). The shareholders will contribute equity amounting to a total of EUR 400 million. Gemini will be one of the largest offshore wind projects in the world. Continue reading “Van Oord to build largest Dutch offshore wind project”

Top earners capturing growing share of total income in many countries, says OECD

logooecd_enThe share of the richest 1% in total pre-tax income have increased in most OECD countries over the past three decades. This rise is the result of the top 1% capturing a disproportionate share of overall income growth over that timeframe: up to 37% in Canada and 47% in the United States, according to new OECD analysis. Even in countries which have a history of a more equal income distribution, such as Finland, Norway and Sweden, the share of the top 1% increased by 70%, reaching around 7-8%. By contrast, top earners saw their share grow much less in some of the continental European countries, including France, the Netherlands and Spain. Continue reading “Top earners capturing growing share of total income in many countries, says OECD”

OECD urges Netherlands to innovate and reform

logooecd_enThe Netherlands is gradually emerging from a double-dip recession with strengthened public finances and reforms on track to improve the labour and housing markets and the health care and pension systems. These reforms are paying off, says the OECD. Growth is expected to reach 1% this year and 1.3% in 2015. Continue reading “OECD urges Netherlands to innovate and reform”

Damen lays keel for Indonesian frigate

SIGMA_10514_Perusak_Kawal_Rudal_FrigateIn accordance with the agreed planning in the contract for the construction of a Damen SIGMA Frigate for the Indonesian Navy, the keellaying ceremony has taken place on 16 April 2014 at the PT PAL (Persero) Shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia. The construction of the 4 modules that are going to be built at PT PAL (Persero) Shipyard Surabaya and the two modules that are being built in Vlissingen, are proceeding according to schedule. Continue reading “Damen lays keel for Indonesian frigate”

The Netherlands must do more to make working at an older age more attractive, says OECD

logooecd_enEncouraging more people to work later in life would help the Netherlands meet its growing challenges of a rapidly ageing population and rising social spending, according to a new OECD report. Working Better with Age in the Netherlands says that reforms over the past decade, such as raising the pension age, have already had an impact: the share of 55-64 year olds in work has increased significantly to just over 60% in 2013, above the OECD average of 55%. But the Netherlands remains well behind the best OECD achievers, ranking only 16th for the employment rate of 55-64 year olds among the 34 OECD countries.  Continue reading “The Netherlands must do more to make working at an older age more attractive, says OECD”

Has Brazil really entered recession? Then here is what to do

By Arnout Nuijt

brazilianflagPositive news about Brazil’s economy is hard to find these days. In fact the bad news is piling up. A recent report by the Financial Times of London, quoting Brazil Central bank figures, suggests the country has entered technical recession more than 7 months ago by shrinking slightly for two consecutive quarters in 2013. Another report in the same publication expressed worries about what harm a recession may do to Brazil’s housing bubble. So how serious should you take these reports and what can you do to protect your business in Brazil? Continue reading “Has Brazil really entered recession? Then here is what to do”

The Netherlands among top countries in OECD’s global education survey

logooecd_enSome Asian countries as well as Switzerland and the Netherlands outperform the rest of the world in the OECD’s latest PISA survey, which evaluates the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-olds. The OECD’s PISA 2012 tested more than 510,000 students in 65 countries and economies on maths, reading and science. The main focus was on maths. Math proficiency is a strong predictor of positive outcomes for young adults. It influences their ability to participate in post-secondary education and their expected future earnings. Continue reading “The Netherlands among top countries in OECD’s global education survey”

A tycoon bites the Dutch dust

nrc-carlos-slim-coverLebanese-Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim appears to have lost a major battle in his bid to control Dutch telecoms firm KPN, as he has cancelled his América Movil company’s announced bid for a majority of the telecom firms shares.

It its statement of October 16th, América Movil blamed KPN’s obstructive and non-cooperative stand. As we noted before, a tycoon’s way of doing business is never a good match for continental European companies and Slim’s attempt may have been doomed from the start.

‘Human capital’ report says Dutch labour force among best in the world

wefCountries have been ranked according to the amount they invest in their labour force for the first time in a recent Human Capital Report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), which found that  Switzerland, Finland and Singapore have the world’s smartest workforces. But the Dutch labour force is also among the best. Continue reading “‘Human capital’ report says Dutch labour force among best in the world”

Should the King read out the King’s Speech?

publicworksIt was King Willem-Alexander’s first King’s Speech, when he read out the yearly government statement in the historic Knight’s Hall of Dutch Parliament on September 17th. And what a first it was. Though he read it well, King Willem-Alexander was not to be envied. A Kings’ Speech about another 6 billion Euro to be collected from his subjects by the present government, led by Prime Minister Rutte, will never be a winner. The King lent his voice to a widely resented move by a government that – according to many polls – has lost almost complete confidence from the populace.

So why does the King read it out? Well, because traditionally and constitutionally the King (or Queen) is supposed to do so, for whatever government or whatever Prime Minister, whether he likes it or not. Ceremonially, it’s the highlight of the year for the Head of State, speaking to the combined chambers of parliament. Content wise he is the hostage of the acting Continue reading “Should the King read out the King’s Speech?”

Dutch port infrastructure tops WEF world ranking

terminalJust as in 2012, the Dutch port infrastructure leads the rankings of the World Economic Forum. This was revealed in the investigation into the competitive position of national economies worldwide, published yesterday. The same investigation showed that the Netherlands dropped from the fifth position to the eighth overall.

Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: “The fact that the Netherlands has the best port infrastructure in the world is due to a large extent to our continued investment in the port of Rotterdam during the past years, for instance with Maasvlakte 2. We base these investments on a widely supported vision of the development we desire for the port: the Port Vision 2030. And we do that together with all the parties involved: municipality, ministries, the business sector and NGOs. A vision with broad support ensures clarity and confidence in the future. Businesses know what they can expect.”

The quality of Dutch roads is in tenth place on the worldwide ranking, while the rail infrastructure holds position eleven. Air transport infrastructure is in fourth place.

Investments in education, infrastructure and innovation contribute the most to economic growth in the long term.

From Rotterdam Port Authority

The Netherlands drops among most competitive economies

wefThe World Economic Forum (WEF) has published its 2013 ranking of countries on the basis of their innovativeness and competitiveness.

The Netherlands had slipped three places, going down to an 8th place.

Top institute INSCOPE: Research for Innovation, under the direction of Henk Volberda, Professor of Strategic Management & Business Policy at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is partner institute of the WEF and has collected the data for the Netherlands.

The full report (in Dutch) can be found here.

These are the ranking’s most important findings: Continue reading “The Netherlands drops among most competitive economies”

Why Carlos Slim will fail to win KPN

By Arnout Nuijt

carlosslimLate Thursday night news broke that Dutch telecoms firm KPN had activated its firewall against a hostile takeover by Mexican magnate Carlos Slim. A foundation, led by a handful of venerable representatives from Dutch business circles, exercised its right to emit emergency shares that would give it nearly 50% of voting rights on KPN’s board. Such foundations are commonplace among Dutch larger companies, as the country’s economic establishment abhors takeovers that have not been the result of lengthy negotiations with shareholders, management and employees.

Mr Slim could and should have known. Was he misinformed or did he believe that he could pull this off, just as he had pulled off other takeovers? Was this miscalculation the result of a magnate’s autocratic management style or just plain hubris of the world’s richest man? The thing is when Dutchmen or other Europeans intend to invest in Mexico, Brazil or other places, they are told to get themselves acquainted with local business styles, to get a local partner who knows the specific particularities of the market and who has an excellent network. The potential investor is also told that he will be in for the long run and he should take his time. Do Latin American investors receive similar advice about investing in the Netherlands? If not, they should. Continue reading “Why Carlos Slim will fail to win KPN”

What should we do with the Benelux?

By Arnout Nuijt

logo_Benelux_topOn the last day of the previous year an interesting bit of news floated around in the Low Countries, but it may have been lost in the loud bangs of the New Year’s Eve celebrations. According to Luc Willems, deputy secretary-general of the Benelux Union, the Benelux would like to see a single market for mobile telephony in the three countries. The Benelux in 2013 will study the possibilities for creating such a single market, without roaming fees. That is of course good news for consumers as well as businesses, and it could also serve as a test for a similar move to a single EU market.

Yes, it has been a nuisance for years when, traveling between Belgium and The Netherlands (or between any two given EU nations), you loose your mobile connection the very moment you are crossing the border. While you wait for the text message coming in from the local provider saying that you are now on their network, you may wonder what it actually means to live in a EU single market. Once you have crossed the border – which is an increasingly diminishing concept within the EU, especially in the case of the one between Holland and Belgium -, the cost of your phone calls will rise significantly, because telecom companies say you are “roaming”.

Wow, after decades of deepening European economic integration and years of an EU single market, the ups and downs of the Euro Zone and a plethora of other treaties, telecom providers are still free to charge their customers more once they cross a border? Yes, somehow they can and they are getting away with it all the time… But where the EU has apparently not been capable of bringing change and helping its citizens and businesses to bring down cost, the Benelux has now taken an initiative. The Benelux, the Benelux, you are saying, yeah, I have heard about it, but do they still exist? Yes, they do, and they may be making a comeback of sorts. Continue reading “What should we do with the Benelux?”

More Growth for Rotterdam-The Hague Airport

Last year was a good year for Rotterdam-The Hague Airport. The regional airport on the northern edge of Rotterdam is steadily growing, adding more and more European cities to its destinations. Besides the fact that Rotterdam-The Hague Airport has become one of low-cost carrier Transavia’s hubs for holiday and regular flights throughout the year, it has also been adding a couple of routes from two of Europe’s main carriers: British Airways and Lufthansa. And more is still to come… Continue reading “More Growth for Rotterdam-The Hague Airport”

Royal Dutch Business

By Arnout Nuijt

pvofiespThe biggest Dutch business mission ever organised descended on Brazil last week. Over 150 companies, fielding around 250 representatives, visited the country’s cities most relevant to Dutch business. The mission was led by the heir to the Dutch throne, His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange, and included several other officials. Among these were a brandnew Minister of Trade & Development and Secretary for Education, as well as the Prime-Minister of Aruba, one of the countries inside the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

The delegation consisted of representatives from several sectors of the Dutch economy, like higher eduaction and science, aviation technology, agribusiness, design and architecture, metallurgical industries and others and presented a clear break from the traditional message that the Dutch are good at ports and water management. This mission portrayed Holland correctly as having a knowledge based economy. Another novelty was the absence of a traditional line-up of CEO’s of the country’s biggest companies. Instead the delegation was dominated by SME’s, small and medium sized companies. Of course reps of some of the larger entreprises were present, but most of these are already well established in Brazil for decades.  Continue reading “Royal Dutch Business”