Wind force 10
If you want to be the port of the future, you can’t do that alone; partnership is something I really believe in. Within and beyond the boundaries of the port. You need to connect, but to do that, you first need to be able to find each other!
A strong local innovation ecosystem combined with global players is essential for this. We’ve been working hard on this for the past 10 years. These efforts have resulted in a vast ecosystem with thé knowledge institute for ports, world’s first maritime accelerator, a port investment fund and the biggest ‘makers district’, with many more fantastic things in the pipeline! And thanks to the people you’ve become acquainted with via this column series, the energy is now flowing through that ecosystem at wind force 10! I’m extremely proud of this: together we have developed a unique and dynamic ecosystem in which innovative companies can thrive and develop their ideas to become flourishing companies. With support from market parties, knowledge institutes, network organisations and investment funds.
You can feel the innovation
One of the latest innovations that I think is really awesome is uRecycle®. It’s a Finnish company that is one of Europe’s top 3 battery recyclers. It appeared on our radar through one of the internal innovation teams we worked with. They are constructing a new factory in our port for the recycling and reuse of batteries. This enables us to facilitate an increasingly larger circular flow that, in turn, creates new opportunities.
uRecycle has chosen Rotterdam because of our strategic location, which will enable them to expand to become a large recycling hub in Europe. But the innovation ecosystem is also becoming an increasingly important factor in attracting companies to the port. This combination is what makes Rotterdam unique.
You can feel the innovation in the city and port. We’re making waves that swell to form new waves, new initiatives. That’s how Up!Rotterdam was created: a collaboration of the Municipality of Rotterdam with various innovation ecosystem parties.
This initiative, which I’m also working hard for, provides faster access to networks, funding and international markets to entrepreneurs with potential. This way, we’re continuing to build that strong innovation ecosystem together, in which (new) companies create the port of the future.
If we are to become the world’s smartest and most sustainable port, there is a lot yet to be done. But as far as I’m concerned, the ambition is endless. We have the companies, the knowledge and the experience! We see that it’s working with companies such as uRecycle and the development of shore power - for which we also want to run pilots with a circular stream of car batteries.
The big changes that are needed come from within ánd beyond the port, from different sectors, across the world and in cooperation with other ports. I really believe that we need to embrace the disruption we are facing, as that’s where the opportunities lie.
Imagining what the world could look like is the start of every innovation.
And working together on the questions of tomorrow is the first step in making progress. Where energies converge, new forms of collaboration and innovations ignite. It’s my mission to fire up these energy flows and to create more synergy. From those waves we make together with our partners, I want to make gigantic waves!’