RHV BV - Erasmus University Rotterdam
Wouter Jacobs (PhD Management Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands) is a research fellow at RHV- Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In addition, he holds a guest professorship Economic Geography at Ghent University in Belgium. Research interests include global production networks, economic geography of knowledge-intensive (maritime) business services, commodity trading and the spatial economic evolution of port cities. His research has been published in various edited book volumes and academic journals. In addition Wouter has been involved in contract research for the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the OECD, Port of Amsterdam Authority, City of Rotterdam, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs & Innovation and the Antwerp Chamber of Commerce.
The 2013 OECD study on Rotterdam observed an unlocked potential for Rotterdam to capture more value locally in the form of maritime business services. Its port is world renowned yet further smart linkages with the urban economy are needed in order to develop into a true international maritime centre. But stakeholders have started to take action. In addition to the PortVision2030, a joint vision of the Port Authority and the municipality, the city is unrolling its World Port City- agenda aimed at promoting crossovers between the maritime business service cluster and Rotterdam’s port-industrial complex. One of first concrete results is the formation of the Rotterdam Maritime Services Community. As part of the further development of the Maritime Service Centre and the port, Rotterdam has adopted a second strategy. This strategy is build around a topic that has been largely overlooked by port planners, researchers and urban policymakers alike: the increasing role that commodity traders play in global supply chains. The case for commodity trade is compelling. It is linked with the financial and risk management sector on the one hand and with production, storage and distribution on the other. And these activities do not necessarily need to be in each other’s proximity. Moreover, commodity traders are increasingly setting up logistics divisions and acquiring port-related assets worldwide, yet their trading desks remain firmly ‘urban’: they occupy high-end office space, require highly skilled jobs and attract specialized business services. As such the presentation argues that in order to develop into a smart commodity trading hub you not only need a smart port but also smart cities. It is exactly this principle that guides the Rotterdam World Port City development strategy.