Frits Gronsveld (Chairman Board of Directors – STC Group) is one of the members of the Advisory Board that contributes to the Rotterdam Maritime Services Community (RMSC). The board is consists of various experts with first-hand knowledge about current affairs and strategic issues that might affect maritime business services providers. In this interview he shares his point of view on the regional cluster and how these experts add to the competitiveness and the position of the maritime sector in general.
Mr. Gronsveld, what is your vision on the role and added value of maritime business services providers?
“I believe specialised service providers play a defining role in the level off success within the entire maritime industry. The industry is highly dependent on the availability and quality of expert business services. Because of the complexity of trade it is important that these experts interlace themselves with the maritime industry. For us as an educational and research institute it is important to explore opportunities and challenges the industry will face for example. This helps us to understand trends to optimise our services and continue to develop the workforce of the future. I even dare to state that this leads to expertise that can improve the performance of the entire chain. This is where Rotterdam distinguishes itself from other maritime clusters. Throughout the region you see tight connections and relationships between the business services cluster and maritime enterprises. I consider these networks import to the business climate.”
Which emerging trends do you distinguish?
“Apart from issues connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalisation and sustainability are major topics. Digitalisation and artificial intelligence change the way of doing things in many ways. This also affects jobs and employment. With the STC Group we anticipate and create educational programmes that align with these developments. But also in the area of hydrogen, offshore wind, and drone technology for example. We do this in close cooperation with employers and employees. This doesn’t always require new programmes by the way. In some cases it is sufficient to hone existing courses or modules. Sensor technology, smart and predictive maintenance as well as software developments require ongoing knowledge and expertise development among employees. This also goes for adjacent service providers such as insurances and financiers. In essence it is safe to say that emerging trends always lead to issues that need to be addressed by maritime business service providers for that matter.”
What distinguishes Rotterdam as a hub for maritime business services?
“The port of Rotterdam is internationally known as innovation frontrunner. Successful innovations are always developed in close coherence between industry, government and knowledge institutions. Connected through solid and knowledgeable maritime business service providers. I believe the ongoing urge for innovation within the regional maritime cluster contributes to create favourable conditions for a wide ranging array of complementary business services. The fact that Rotterdam has a strong maritime cluster is also a logical motivation for business services to locate in the region of course.”
Which opportunities do you see for the RMSC in the foreseeable future?
“As briefly mentioned earlier I really believe that the success of the regional maritime cluster is partially dependent on the presence of high quality business service providers. Innovation and businesses thrive on the expertise that is readily available. It is important that the cluster of maritime business services providers in and around Rotterdam also receive recognition for this. The RMSC has acted as a true ambassador for the industry and its members since it was established six years ago. As before, it remains essential for the RMSC to identify and address blind spots. In regard to relevant opportunities or challenges, as well as continued focus on knowledge development and knowledge sharing. As such the RMSC acts as a platform, it is the connecting factor within the cluster. I am convinced that the RMSC is able to maintain steady growth and strengthen its reputation as knowledgeable and trustworthy representative of the regional services cluster. Ensuring a seat at the table when our interests need to be addressed towards relevant organisations or administrators.”
STC Group – Leading in learning
STC Group is a worldwide operating educational and research institute for the shipping, logistics, transport and process industries. In the public domain STC Group offers preparatory vocational education (vmbo), senior secondary vocational education (mbo) and higher professional education (bachelor/hbo) under the Dutch system. In the private domain it offers accredited master’s-level programmes (fulltime and part time), business courses, training and consultancy. STC Group actively shares its knowledge and experience with others all over the world. Their international network enables them to play a leading role in the global labour market for the maritime and logistics sector transport in all its facets.