Rotterdam Maritime Services Community – In the limelight
Jan Kromhout, maritime lawyer and partner at AKD lawyers & civil-law notaries in Rotterdam, is the first specialist in maritime business services to kick off this RMSC newsletter. Specialized in transport and energy, he provides legal advice to ship-builders, transport-companies, financiers and insurers through all phases of a project including corporate structures, negotiation of contracts, delivery, installations and decommissioning.
AKD provides legal services where needed. Most large maritime companies are perfectly capable to take care of agreements in-house with standard guidelines. Instead, AKD focuses on those unique cases that require a rather specialist approach. It is vital to determine which set of laws is applicable in any given situation. That’s why at AKD, some people only work on agreements, whereas others solely focus on legal procedures. Each brings in their own specialty for a justifiable outcome.
Jan Kromhout praises the practical mentality of the people of Rotterdam. They’ve always prioritized a good and fast solution over a debate. Naturally, this is important in the fast paced world of trade. But Kromhout doesn’t think that this is the only reason that sets Rotterdam apart from other ports. Through time, Rotterdam attracted all sorts of companies that are somehow connected to the harbor. As a result, the region is concentrated with years of specialist knowledge on the maritime industry. Kromhout believes it is this vast amount of knowledge that leads to innovation: “It’s no surprise the new modern container-terminal is built here on Maasvlakte 2 and not in Hamburg.” Building on reclaimed land has been a specialty of the Netherlands for centuries. Clustering the accumulated knowledge of the region benefits maritime business services because non-port related services require specific maritime knowledge.
Kromhout doesn’t mind the port will be less visible in the future. “You will not see a moving crane from your window, but we must not underestimate how the extended port will affect all businesses in the region. If the container-terminal was built in Antwerp, we would have certainly missed out a great deal.” Rotterdam was already one of the most accessible ports of Europe. Because Maasvlakte 2 is directly situated next to the North Sea, it can now be reached even faster. By expanding the current port to around 12,500 hectares in total, the capacity for handling containers has doubled. Together with the perfect connection to central Europe, Maasvlakte 2 offers excellent opportunities for companies setting up business in the Netherlands.
The importance of RMSC is as clear as daylight for Kromhout. The vast concentration of knowledge in the region can be used even better with a trade association that protects the interests of all parties involved. It may seem as though London and Singapore are more important when it comes to business services and legal affairs, but in reality, Kromhout says, Rotterdam is the capital. “It’s a good thing we can collectively contribute to the effort to put this place on the map.”