Arthur van Essen

Time to celebrate our success

Rotterdam Maritime Services Community – In the limelight

Allianz-Rotterdam-Maritime-Services-Community-RMSCA great infrastructure, favourable tax regulations and a local government, that actively creates opportunities for foreign companies. Rotterdam has a lot going on for itself. But there is one thing there is lacking; we don’t take time to celebrate our success. We talked to Arthur van Essen, Country manager at international insurance services company, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) about how to become more visible in a fast pacing world.


“Our cluster of maritime business services is up to standard. It’s just not as sturdy as in London and in Singapore yet. For example, online you can literally find contact information of every company that provides business services in those hubs to the international shipping industry in just a few clicks. Wouldn’t it be useful if Rotterdam also had such a directory? It’s a relative simple idea, but someone has to organise it. And when it’s finished, it is already old because new mediums of communications emerged. Just wait and see. That’s the world we live in today. Rotterdam needs to keep on track with these innovations to stay visible in the world-wide network of maritime business services.”

Communication style

“Next to our visibility, we also need to work on the way we communicate. In the Netherlands we are used to communicate in a direct matter. But not everyone is charmed by our blunt approach. For example, how do you communicate with a business partner in China? We hardly know anything about Chinese culture and customs. That’s why we need the Port of Rotterdam and Rotterdam Partners actively engaging in building strong connections with foreign networks. The same holds good for the cluster of maritime business services in Rotterdam. We all benefit if we share and centralise our knowledge on foreign business relations.


“Our bluntness and honesty stands in the way of our success. Anglo-Saxons are much smoother when it comes to self-promoting. The Dutch have more in common with the Germans and the Belgians in this matter. We naively think if we work hard and do our best, everything will fall in to place. We hate to brag. But if we want to attract more businesses to our city we will have to learn how to celebrate and communicate our successes more effectively.

My main point is that we shouldn’t feel inferior towards other world ports. Rotterdam has a great reputation around the world. It’s time to celebrate our strengths. We are all part of the port infrastructure and we have to showcase this to reel in the businesses that pass us by.”