From the Port of Rotterdam to an innovative scale-up in Ghent: meet Annette van Ketel, the new Business Development Manager of Peripass in the Netherlands.
Annette lives and breathes logistics. In recent years she has built up a sound track record in the logistics world. Annette has a Master in Maritime Economics & Logistics. For the past three years she has been sales manager for the short sea segment of the Port of Rotterdam, where she focused on intra-European container transport. She was also the contact person for the terminals and shipping companies within this segment in the Port of Rotterdam. Prior to that she worked for 3.5 years for the Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines, where she worked as cost analyst and later procurement coordinator for procurement for the terminal. Consequently, Annette has an overview of the logistics challenges of companies like no one else.
You come from a large organisation with many international challenges. Why the choice for Peripass, and a Belgian company on top of that (laughs)?
“I very much wanted to take on a new adventure. I also looked forward to really getting back into logistics. At the port authority you mainly sit and watch from the sidelines. It’s with some trepidation, though, because now I do have to give up maritime shipping. But I enjoy focusing completely on land transport now. The short sea segment is also very strongly characterised by delivery by truck. So I’m no stranger to the issues of truck transport (laughs). Therefore I’m very happy that a player has entered the market that can offer good solutions for these. I was ready for a new challenge. I wanted to set to work myself like a real Rotterdammer: take on a job and get on with it. I want to create added value in the chain itself together with colleagues, something that’s more feasible at a scale-up than at a port authority.”
What are the primary challenges you see in the market?
“I see quite a few developments in the logistics world, both in Rotterdam and far beyond. The supply chain demands more and more. Just consider warehousing, cross-docking; everything has to go faster, there is a shortage of drivers; more demands more and more reliability. You can tackle a large number of those challenges by making the processes more efficient and providing more real-time insights.”
How do you assess the Dutch market?
“There’s more of a culture of cooperation in logistics in the Netherlands, partly because there is an enormous shortage of space for logistics companies. So you see that many parties consider a central parking area that they then manage together with other companies in the area. They set up a cooperative for this. This way the investment cost is also distributed over the various owners. They want to present themselves as one organisation and use the increased efficiency to position themselves as a “one-stop shop”. For example, in the Eemhaven in Rotterdam you have the short sea cluster, which serves six different parties with one front door. You see this trend both in the port and in the hinterland. In that hinterland people want to set up corridors: ‘How can we take in volume jointly and then redistribute it efficiently?’ I’m convinced that Peripass can be an enormous added value for this type of organisation.”
“What’s also unique in the Netherlands is the large volume of transport of perishable goods. Food and beverages, of course, but also flowers. The export of flowers and plants, with a value of €6 billion, is the most important export product of the Netherlands after machinery. For this reefer loading it’s essential that the content be handled quickly. Peripass can play a big role there too.”
“The logistics sector is growing enormously in the Netherlands. There is substantial investment everywhere in big warehouse projects like those in Venlo, Eindhoven and the Port of Rotterdam. Dutch political policy is also a real ally of the sector. The NFIA (Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency) and NDL (Nederland Distributie Land, Netherlands Distribution Country) do a lot of work proactively to attract companies to the Netherlands. For example, the port authority together with a city and the national government will provide a bid book to attract shipping companies. The Netherlands definitely has very good positioning as a distribution country, a real gateway to Europe, thanks to the many large warehouses and the Port of Rotterdam, still the largest in Europe. There are also quite a few British companies that are considering transferring their logistics operations and stocks to the continent because of Brexit. This will definitely also have an effect on the Dutch market in the coming two years. I expect more and more truck movement in the Netherlands; that’s good news for Peripass. (laughs)”
Do you expect any resistance to Peripass in the Dutch market?
“Customers can’t buy our product if they don’t even know that it exists. So we will have to make an effort to make the Peripass brand known in the Dutch market. The Netherlands is more open to innovations and people are prepared to take a risk more quickly. So I think the Netherlands is ready for a SaaS solution to handle the internal flows, instead of bearing the heavy development costs for custom software itself.”
Why did you say ‘yes’ to Peripass?
“The entrepreneurial mentality of Peripass and the pioneering role we can play greatly appealed to me. The combination of a solid product and the opportunity to work in a small dynamic enterprise. I got the very strong feeling that it’s a friendly organisation with a strong team that wants to accomplish something together. Clearly everyone is enthusiastic and striving for excellence. That really appealed to me. I felt that there was a clear vision and that I had arrived in a very cordial, open and professional organisation. Input is listened to, and you can help chart the path yourself. So this Rotterdammer feels completely at home here! (laughs)”
Do you have a logistics challenge in the Netherlands? Make an appointment with Annette.