University Chair helps to build a better (maritime) world

After more than 10 years, the 'BNP Paribas Fortis Transport, Logistics and Ports Chair’ at the University of Antwerp is still full of life. Sustainability, digitalisation, demographics, a 'war for talent', the need for more cooperation and trust in IT tools... The challenges are great, but the maritime sector is resilient and ready to tackle them.

The festive celebration of the tenth anniversary of the BNP Paribas Fortis Transport, Logistics and Ports Chair was a nice reunion for various players in the maritime sector. The timing was also perfect, because World Maritime Day fell on 30 September and it was the start of the new academic year.

Resilience and innovation

“A perfect match”, was how a proud Max Jadot, CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis described the Chair that the bank founded together with the university ten years ago. "The corona crisis has shown how crucial a well-functioning supply chain is, and that innovation and resilience are needed to meet today's challenges."

Innovative solutions for the ports of tomorrow

“We have to think like a real ecosystem.” At the start of the afternoon, Professor Christa Sys, holder of the Chair at the University of Antwerp, underlined the particular importance of co-innovation. "All direct and indirect stakeholders within the maritime and transport sectors must work together more and better in the long term. This gives us the resilience to find new, creative and innovative solutions. The merger between the Port of Antwerp and the Port of Zeebrugge is a great step forward."

Everybody on board

Demographic evolution, sustainability and technology. The speakers agreed on the key issues and the Chair’s support role in finding appropriate answers.

Mapping demographic evolution, for example, provides an up-to-date picture of the growth in supply and demand and the related need for (preferably sustainable) transport. Consumers, companies and policymakers are all aware that everything has to be greener and more ecological. Today, we even see a willingness to pay for sustainability. But what are the right choices in terms of energy and technology? And finally, there is digitalisation. The maritime sector is still lagging somewhat behind in that. Data platforms and data sharing offer many advantages, but there is still too little trust to use them and share data with each other.

New regulations, new fuels, new investments, new sustainable capacities... Through research, analysis and information exchange, the Chair promotes knowledge-sharing and helps build a better (maritime) world.

Part of the solution

The maritime sector is one of the most important economic sectors in Belgium. Today, more than 80% of global trade is transported by sea. Annick De Ridder Antwerp alderman for port, acknowledges that the port has a major impact on carbon emissions. However, she emphasises above all that the broad maritime sector is an important part of the solution and can and will make a real difference. "This Chair certainly contributes to this by bringing together the most important actors within the national and international port community. We also need talent and knowledge for the port of tomorrow. The Chair can certainly help to prepare young people for this exciting sector."

Stimulating dialogue in order to find innovative solutions, that also is Positive Banking.



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