On june 23th the conference Mareforum Commodities took place in Rotterdam for the first time. Many speakers and panelists discussed the global and regional trends impacting the trade markets for different commodities. Also the position of Rotterdam as a trading hub was discussed and the way in which this position can be strengthened. One of the highlights of the conference was the signature of a Memorandum of understanding between SmartPort Institute and Singapore Management University.
Singapore and Rotterdam, 24 June 2015 (Wednesday) – Ports around the world face complex, multi- dimensional challenges, such as sustainability and congestion issues, which need to be tackled through a multi-disciplinary approach, enabled by multi-disciplinary research. It is with this in mind that the Singapore Management University (SMU) and SmartPort Institute have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together in curriculum development as well as teaching and research collaborations, covering various areas of key importance. These areas include international commodity trading, maritime and port economics, and port management and strategy.
The SmartPort Institute is a unique global institute representing the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Delft University of Technology, Port of Rotterdam Authority, Port of Rotterdam business association Deltalinqs and the City of Rotterdam. The SMU’s International Trading Institute, or ITI@SMU, was established through a collaborative effort between leading industry players in Singapore’s trading sector, SMU and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore in 2007, and is the first trading institute in the world to be set up within a university.
The MOU was signed on Tuesday morning, 23 June 2015, in Rotterdam by Professor Annie Koh, SMU’s Vice President for Business Development and Academic Director of ITI@SMU, and Dr Michiel Jak, Managing Director of SmartPort Institute, and was witnessed by Mr Maarten Struijvenberg, Alderman, City of Rotterdam. The ceremony took place at the inaugural MARE Commodities Forum which serves to connect the commodities community with the maritime and shipping communities, and is a platform where leading players in these sectors exchange their expertise.
On the partnership, Professor Annie Koh said, “The Asia-Europe trade link is an important route connecting the global commodities supply chain, maritime and shipping industries. We are excited and honoured to partner SmartPort Institute to promote education and research between two of the world’s key commodities trading and maritime centres – Rotterdam and Singapore. This MOU will certainly strengthen the synergy between our two cities, by allowing both our institutes to cooperate on innovation creation, knowledge creation, as well as to develop curriculum for the nurturing of young talents and advancement of senior leaders in these sectors. It also complements the existing MOU between the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Port of Rotterdam Authority which was inked in April 2015.”
On specific benefits to future talents and existing professionals, Professor Koh said, “Currently, ITI@SMU’s undergraduate programme, offered through the International Trading Concentration and Maritime Economics Concentration, already offers broad industry learning in the forms of study missions, local and overseas internships, overseas exchange and international careeropportunities. I’m confident that this MOU will strengthen and expand the learning and networking opportunities that we are able to offer our students.”
Additionally, SMU had, in April 2015, partnered with the MPA Academy to develop and deliver the Advanced Maritime Leaders Programme for senior maritime officials from 12 countries. “Following this partnership with SmartPort Institute, I believe that more of such customised programmes can be made available for different ports and international maritime clusters in Asia,” she added.
Dr Michiel Jak said, “The international collaboration with ITI@SMU is an important contribution to the value creation that SmartPort offers the Rotterdam port community. Exchange on R&D, training and education with our Singapore counterpart will enhance the capabilities and expertise of business professionals and academics. SMU and SmartPort will combine the brainpower of two leading smart ports in order to maintain a competitive advantage.”