Piet has 20+ years experience in working in a dynamic and innovative international context. Begin of the 90’s he joined one of the most succesful startups in the Benelux, Tele Atlas – a producer of one of the sources of the future : digital geographical databases. In different functions he was part of the growth from a 30 people to a 3000 people company – which was in 2008 acquired by TomTom.
As program manager navigation product content at TomTom he was responsible for the go-2-market for Japanese navigation systems, POIs, Voicemaps, …
Piet holds master degrees in History and Urbanism and physical planning, and postgraduates in energy management and he’s a certified environmental coordinator.
Between 2012-2014 has managed a consulting company which was specialised in implementing environmental and sustainable policies in enterprises and local governments. He was also closely involved in the start-up of new companies in the energy sector.
As a consultant infrastructure and environment Piet leads within the port authorities of Antwerp, strategic projects on longer term development of the harbour (f.i. infrastructure, mobility, …). As lead of the cross departmental innovation think-tank within POA he’s currently closely involved in innovation initiatives within the Port of Antwerp.
The Antwerp Port Community, represented by the Antwerp Port Authority and VOKA-Alfaport for the private sector, is undertaking a Vision 2030 – 2050 project. The project assesses the implications of demographic, technological, industrial, energetic, sociological and economic trends, to give direction to common efforts to keep the port cluster competitive in a fast changing environment. The Vision project does not aim to predict but to provide a view on possible future outcomes and to offer inspiration to the main stakeholders for their common long term strategy.
The project entails a strong participative process with a Steering Committee, regular Friday-morning sessions of a Vision team, a small Project team, and two off-sites in which 100 representatives of the port community and outside actors (business, academia, regulatory, infrastructure …) participated. This way commitment and legitimacy were created in the port community. In the entire process, the linkages between city and port were an important consideration.
In the first phase of the project the impact of the contextual environment was assessed. Next to the overarching themes of demographics and climate change, the main contextual themes for the port are globalisation, broad areas of innovation (the European manufacturing industry, supply chain management and ICT) and two major transitions (energy and the circular economy). These themes can be used as lenses for development scenarios.
In the second phase of the project, where the degree of interaction went up a notch, the implications of the contextual trends on the transactional space were debated. The broad areas of attention are supply chain performance (nautical, hinterland, trade facilitation …), strengthening of the port platform (infrastructure, energy, talent …) and innovation management.
One of the primary areas of attention is mobility, both in the freight and the commuter markets. Mobility is an area in which a strong sense of urgency exists, where parties in the port, city and broader region have to cooperate, and where smart technologies can have real impact.
The overall mobility ambition is to create reliable capacity to and from the port of Antwerp, the city and the region. There are several levers to impact mobility, of which changes in behaviour rank very high. An important element here is to increase the ‘visibility’ for the road users through dynamic information on the different options to drivers (relevant road information, traffic jams, travel times, road blockages, weather elements, …).
A smart mobility system combines different sources of information, recognizes patterns, features real time steering of traffic flows, and offers visibility on possible mobility solutions - for freight transport as well as for commuting. A port mobility data centre is an essential building block. But equally important is the mind set : all supply chain partners have to be convinced of the advantages of sharing data. Testing of new concepts and innovative solutions (e.g., self-driving vehicles, systems of truck appointment, synchronisation with the information from terminal operating systems) complete the picture and ensure that the accessibility of the port is guaranteed for the future.
With respect to commuting traffic, the Antwerp Port Community, the city and the region will promote options for working from various locations and during flexible hours, avoiding a number of daily commutes. In the long run, the morphology of the port will thereby be adapted : joint working spaces located at intersections with public transportation (inside the port area as well as outside, in congestion free zones) can be set up. Furthermore additional collective transport options are organised at a community level (bus transport, water transport, community-wide carpool initiatives…).
For all of the above to happen, institutional coordination is required, at the port, city and regional level, in order to provide dynamic steering, develop a stream of new initiatives and to communicate on campaigns and results. It is only by combining initiatives that significant mobility impact can be achieved. Next to government bodies the port and industrial companies, industry associations, surrounding communities, data providers, technology providers, all have important roles in the overall process.