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In the deep end

Robert van Vliet started at NPRC as Commercial Development Manager in early February 2022. Robert is 27 years old, was born in Westland (a Dutch region famous for its horticulture) and likes to do sports in his spare time. Logistics is the common theme in his life, his first job working in the Westland logistics sector. But as soon as he saw the world of ships, terminals and cargo, his heart really started beating faster. So much so that the maritime industry of the Port of Rotterdam won him over from the Westland greenhouses.

It was therefore logical that Robert chose to study ‘Logistics and Economics’ at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. After completing his minor in ‘Port & Maritime Management’, he graduated with the Dutch Pilot Service. He took to working in the Port of Rotterdam like a fish to water: “After graduating, I started at Broekman Logistics; I had come into contact with them through the World Port Days. Here I worked on structuring and optimising the processes around the international partnerships. It was a challenging task because there are always different interests involved; the result is a centralised department that provides input for the entire organisation.”

Robert then moved into the operational side of freight forwarding, gaining experience with containers, sea and air freight. “Door to door logistics also means using hinterland transport. As a forwarding agent, you of course also utilise inland shipping,” he explains. “I have always been drawn to this fantastic transport modality. The great thing is that I am now really learning the ins and outs of inland shipping at NPRC.”

Multifaceted inland shipping
Over the past few weeks Robert has been thrown in at the deep end, both literally and figuratively: “The nice thing is that you are given responsibilities straight away and you take care of your own agenda. I have already sailed with an NPRC member on the Western Scheldt estuary. That was a really cool experience to see the primary process up close. I have also visited various customers and the NPRC offices abroad. There are so many different aspects of the world of inland shipping. I’m really looking forward to working with customers and NPRC members on the supply chain of the future.”

Practical modal shift
“The energy transition is in full swing and that provides opportunities for inland shipping. For example, the Dutch government has clearly stated that the number of offshore wind farms needs to be increased significantly. The components for all of these activities have to be shipped to the seaports, and we are happy to play our role in this. Moreover, I do notice that the modal shift is still high on companies’ agendas; they think that transport needs to change and become more sustainable. With the practical modal shift roadmap, we are going to help them make that jump to the water. We also have a clear task to further promote NPRC in the seaports too,” concludes Robert enthusiastically.

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Robert van Vliet

Commercial Development Manager

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