Port Oostende celebrates 25th anniversary with inspiring event
Pictures of the event are at the bottom of this page.
On February 10, the starting signal was given for a series of events in the context of the 25th anniversary of Port Oostende and the 10th anniversary of its subsidiary Renewable Energy Base Oostende, the heavy-duty terminal REBO, which has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Port Oostende since 2019. An evening in limited company of ministers and prominent figures from both the political landscape and the business world, where Port Oostende's vision for the future was central.
Throughout the year, Port Oostende will bring its operations to the attention of investors, political decision-makers and citizens. Various events and activities are planned, but more will be communicated about that later. Since 2019, Port Oostende has defined its mission as: “Creating sustainable maritime employment”. The vision: “Excellence in sustainable growth markets with water-related activities” is the guiding principle in the daily operation and in attracting new companies.
With approximately 400 additional jobs created since 2019, the success supports further action in the future. The Port of Ostend strives to make maximum efforts towards sustainable employment.
“The port landscape is changing at a rapid pace worldwide. Port Oostende needs to diversify in order to safeguard the continuity of activities and employment in the future. This is exactly what Port Oostende has been aiming for for several years now. And with success. According to figures from the National Bank of Belgium, Port Oostende has an added value of 1 032 million euros, it directly employs 5 278 people and indirectly 4 372 people.”
The evening was filled with presentations and debates led by Annelies Van Herck and Wim Opbrouck and supplemented with high-quality animation. Wim Opbrouck also paid tribute Port Oostende with his “Havenlied” in which he musically highlights the core message of the port. Port Oostende is an engine of employment, active within its 5 pillars and is committed to providing a base for the eleventh province.
“A lot of activities take place in and on our North Sea in a fairly limited space. It is necessary to reconcile the different interests and to give each activity a place, because this creates additional employment in the Ostend region and West Flanders. Ostend has the ambition to be the capital of our eleventh province, which is increasingly becoming a full-fledged province. Port Oostende is the ideal base for this.”
The invitees could also enjoy instrumental intermezzos and the sand artist Colette - known from Belgium's Got Talent - who conjured up the (future) vision of Port Oostende on a light box with sand.
Research, innovation and start-ups
The first panel discussion included Charlotte Verkeyn, chairman of Port Oostende, Jan Mees, general director of the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and Peter Grognard, managing director of the von Karman Institute. Under the leadership of Wim Opbrouck, research, innovation and start-ups were put in the spotlight.
“Port Oostende fulfills an important economic role. Not only in terms of employment, shipping and logistics, but also as a catalyst for innovation and start-ups. Our cluster operation is the key to success. In addition, creating employment is also an important means of combating the brain drain and thus ensuring the future of the city.”
Economic importance of Port Oostende
The second debate was led by Annelies Van Herck. She invited Prime Minister Jan Jambon, Minister of North Sea Vincent Van Quickenborne, Chris Peeters, CEO of high-voltage operator ELIA and Dirk Declerck, CEO Port Oostende, to the seat. The economic importance and future prospects of Port Oostende in the Flemish port landscape were the main subjects.
“The 'Flemish resilience' recovery plan emphasizes a sustainable transition of our economy. What Port Oostende is undertaking fits in well with the objective of this plan.”
“Port Oostende is an engine of employment. At the federal level, we help to create a competitive framework that makes it interesting for companies to establish themselves here and thus support economic growth. Because it is this growth that will provide jobs and prosperity in the coastal regions. That is why I am also committed to safeguarding the historic shipping routes between Ostend and the United Kingdom. We should not only focus on tourism, our coast has many assets and we must make use of that.”
Port Oostende focuses on continuity, growth and employment within five pillars: Blue Economy, Bulk & Project Cargo, Cruises & Roll-On Roll-Off, Circular Industry and the Fisheries Sector. These sectors are further expanded on the basis of two foundations: prioritising safety, health and the environment and second supporting innovation and development.