As the Chairman of Maritime by Holland (NML) and as a representative of the entire maritime cluster, I am tremendously proud of our sector. Not just for our economic achievements and for the employment we create, but also for our role in society as a whole. Without maritime entrepreneurs, a lot of people would be out of a job, and our national and regional economies would be far less healthy than they are today.
What is it exactly that makes the Dutch maritime sector so successful? Of course, it all starts with outstanding, distinctive and innovative products and services. But the willingness to work together within the cluster also plays a key role. Companies within our sector are often heavily dependent on each other. And that is why in due time, the current problems in the offshore segment can be expected to affect other industries. For example, shipyards expect to receive up to 15% fewer orders in 2016 than in previous years. To limit the negative impact of this development, we need to advance together when it comes to our joint interests. And one of the interests I am referring to is the identification and exploitation of new markets and business opportunities.
For example, the NML ‘Maritime Hotspots’ programme has proven a good instrument for determining interesting regions with strong maritime potential. And for subsequently setting up effective partnerships with these areas. This way, we can create new opportunities for all parties involved. For example, we recently travelled to Indonesia with representatives of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, to see if we can help local partners develop a ‘cluster’ approach within the Indonesian maritime sector. And to determine how our specific knowledge and expertise can contribute to port-related developments in that country. Closer to home – but no less important – we work to safeguard the Netherlands’s strong competitive position as a maritime country.
The government can play an important role in this context. Not only by strengthening the Dutch business climate, but also by making it easier to do customer-oriented and affordable business within the Netherlands and with Dutch companies.
— Wim van Sluis , Chairman Nederland Maritiem Land
At the very least, regulations, implementation and inspections in the Netherlands shouldn’t be stricter than in other European countries. Take the corporate tax that will probably be levied on Dutch sea ports from 2017 on – while other European sea ports won’t be required to pay this tax. This would have tremendous consequences for the Port of Rotterdam Authority. In short: the Dutch maritime cluster deserves a government that works to ensure a level playing field in Europe!