Mid November Connie Roozen – Chairwoman of the RMSC and partner with C&B More – held an open discussion with Menno Huijs – Program Manager Port Economics with the municipality of Rotterdam – on the role maritime business services play in putting Rotterdam on the map as maritime capital of Europe. The interview is part of an ongoing series of talks Huijs has with key players on current affairs in the port of Rotterdam.
In the interview Roozen explains how a beneficial business climate can help attract maritime business to Rotterdam. Various unique tax regulations such as the Tonnage Tax Scheme make it attractive for shipowners or offshore entities to move their business from Curacao or the Marshall Islands back to the Netherlands. Because opening a legal entity in the Netherlands requires local management, employees and often calls for a number of business services such a move is beneficiary to the entire industry.
Next Roozen talks about the fact that the industry is subjective to fast changing environments. Competing countries were quite successful in not only copying the Dutch system, but improving it as well. For years the Dutch didn’t change their ways of doing things, which put them behind. The recent tax evasion debate forced Dutch legislators to take measures which actually dealt the Dutch a better hand of cards. Putting us ahead of the competition again.
Rotterdam Maritime Services Community
Because we are familiar with the system, it is already incorporated in our ways of doing, it puts us ahead of others. Next to this she emphasises having a network organisation – such as the Rotterdam Maritime Services Community (RMSC) – helps to put the Rotterdam cluster of maritime business services on the map. In other countries this is common practice, but Rotterdam was lacking a dedicated association for this industry. Next to this the RMSC is keen to promote the city and attracting new business, such as shipowners and London based insurers. Remember, the more shipowners are present, the more business services are needed.
Unique Selling Points
When Huijs asks about Rotterdam’s USP’s next to tax benefits Roozen talks about having an advantageous climate because of the possibility of to make arrangements with Dutch tax authorities, industry efficiency including in the banking and lawyer industry, and experience of being part of international developments. The Dutch possess an unique body of knowledge, ideas, infrastructure and innovation platforms. All working together through an unique Dutch way of collaborating. Next to this opportunities arise from IT developments such as blockchain. Currently being tackled through the blockchain-lab – a strong collaboration between the Port of Rotterdam and various business service suppliers such as law firms, banks, insurers and tax consultants. It is expected that business opportunities will come from these developments.
Roozen concludes that to achieve this it is necessary to keep putting Rotterdam on the map. Which requires a strong and vibrant RMSC. We have a strong cluster of maritime business services, offering a broad range of unique services. It is time to scream it from the rooftops. No more modesty!
This is a free translation of the article by Karin Koolen published in ‘Onze Haven’, https://onzehaven.nl/2018/11/13/rotterdamse-maritieme-dienstverlening-op-de-kaart/.