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Corné Hulst, COO Pecém: ‘Transfer the Port of Rotterdam’s knowledge and mentality to Brazil’

Corné Hulst is the new Operational Director for the Port of Pecém in Brazil. The brand new COO of the Rotterdam joint venture has lived and worked abroad for over twenty years, including in Sohar. ‘It is my task to use the Port Authority’s knowledge and experience here in Pecém. Including the traditional Rotterdam mentality.’

Corné Hulst - COO Port of Pecem

‘I started work at the Port of Rotterdam Authority in 2019 and I’ve lived in Pecém since April. It’s a beautiful place to live, by the beach with palm trees. But what you notice most here is the poverty. Rotterdam’s participation in the port can contribute to the development of the area and its economy. This is a huge motivation for me as Operational Director.

The first two months were a transition period with a focus on learning to understand the culture and adapting to it. It’s now my task to apply the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s knowledge and experience. This mainly concerns operational knowledge about handling different freight, the logistics of this and managing the client’s expectations. We do this in a hands-on way: we sit at the table together with the operational team and the client to exchange information, experience and knowledge. Working together in this way enables us to address logistic challenges jointly.

The Port of Rotterdam mentality is important in the process: not talking but doing and taking responsibilities and decisions. The Brazilians are not always used to this, but they do like it if someone creates progress.

Pecém also has a Port Authority, comparable with that of Rotterdam. It’s a little smaller with around 100 permanent employees. Around 500 people work in the port itself. Pecém is an existing port that is growing and provides employment. Large international clients want to establish offices there. Together with our team, we’ll make sure that this stays on track. I also manage the engineering department and port operations.

The aim is to expand the port, and we need Rotterdam’s knowledge and experience for this. Banks will invest if they know that business will be managed well. Some of the future plans for the coming 2 to 3 years include realising a large tank terminal for storage and transhipment of fuels, and a train connection to the port. The steel factory is also expanding production from 3 to 6 million tonnes of steel. And there is a plan to supply LNG to a new power plant.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is not only active in Europe, but also across the world. The way in which we do business is changing, as is our business model. We can distinguish ourselves by selling our knowledge on the market. We do this by demonstrating how well organised, transparent and reliable we are.

For Rotterdam, this partnership is important because of its economic added value. Pecém is a good business case with a low risk and high growth potential. This enables the Port Authority to spread its financial risk and Pecém offers considerable opportunities for investment that in turn will generate income. We can also further disseminate the knowledge and experience we have gained across the world and in doing so place the Port of Rotterdam’s name firmly on the market.

What does this global experience comprise? How you do business with different parties and facilitate the business processes. We aim for clarity, transparency and win-win situations. We search for longer-term improvements. The creation of the right investment climate is crucial and this is also demonstrated in digital innovations. A product such as Pronto can offer significant logistical advantages to our clients as well as cost reduction throughout the supply chain. The port's infrastructure will be better utilised. This enables more freight to be handled, which leads to more people being employed. This is how we make a social contribution: the creation of employment and economic growth in the upcoming economy of the state of Ceara.

Over the past nine years I was Director of STC Training & Consultancy in Rotterdam. Prior to this I lived and worked abroad for around twenty years, including in Egypt, Oman, and in Mozambique for ten years. That’s why I speak good Portuguese, a huge advantage because people hardly speak any English here. I have a lot of experience with ports and terminals. For instance, I worked in Sohar in Oman for several years for trade and storage company C. Steinweg. There, I worked in close collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam Authority to develop the Port of Sohar. I was then on the operational side, and that experience from the client’s side is really being put to good use now in Pecém.

Want to know more about Pecém?

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is a partner in the rapidly growing Brazilian port of Pecém since December 2018. This involvement opens up opportunities for international trade flows and investments from Europe. Pecém's strategic location gives it the potential to become the logistical and industrial hub of Northeast Brazil.

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