78th Harbor Guild Dinner: Power of water

The port community in the North Sea Canal area gathered at Hotel Okura Amsterdam for the 78th edition of the Port Guild Dinner. Highlights of this year's program, besides the good atmosphere and excellent menu, were the presentation of the Port Medal to VCK director Ron Lahman, the speech by outgoing minister Mark Harbers and the first appearance of Ramon Ernst in his role as Amports chairman.

bird's eye view at one of the tables at the harbor guild dinner at hotel okura amsterdam. chicly set

It was once again buzzing with energy at the Port Guild Dinner. The 78th edition was all about the power of water, but also the power of cooperation and innovation. Not only during the maiden speech of Amports' new chairman - Ramon Ernst- was the emphasis on these themes but also in the speech of outgoing minister Mark Harbers.

Strong position of national seaports
Outgoing Minister Harbers is proud of the Dutch Seaports. His positive tone strikes a chord in the hall. According to him, the state may take the lead in strengthening the position of the national seaports. The industry must be cherished. And he believes the next cabinet will also take this position. This will rub shoulders with the housing plans of the Amsterdam city council, but as port city shows, solutions are possible. A balance between industry (work) and housing.

Port Young professionals x Power of Water
Since 2019, Amports has been explicitly committed to rejuvenating the event by increasingly involving port young professionals. During last Friday's edition, they climbed on stage to instruct their listeners on how they would innovate and become more sustainable. What does the power of water mean to them? What are the challenges and how will they solve it? Young Professionals Storm Matroos and Yvette Swagemakers didn't mince words.

Storing water in the IJsselmeer and the IJ. More transport by water: Cargopooling. International shipping legislation and bonus schemes for entrepreneurs who invest in hydrogen. Out of box thinking is something why young professionals are so valuable. Read more about it soon in the Power of Water session report.

Radiating ambition
For the new chairman of Amports, the coming years at the port are about intelligent steering and adjustment. Ernst: 'By this I mean a port strategy that can adapt to the development of cargo flows, keeping options open along the way. With the right timing of phasing in and phasing out.' In his maiden speech, Ernst advocated a port strategy that exudes ambition: 'No shrinkage but growth in cargo flows! We have a beautiful new lock so let's use it. A lot of money is being put into selective salt extraction. The Ministry of I&W, Rijkswaterstaat and all parties involved deserve a big compliment for their decisiveness on this difficult dossier. There is also attention for the further management and maintenance of the entire canal.'

Harbor Medal
Righteous. Courageous. Leader. It sums up in three words why the Port Medal 2023 went to Ron (Marcel) Lahman. The Amports board awarded the medal because of his special services to the Port of Amsterdam. Lahman has been committed to this for 25 years. In his acceptance speech after port alderman Hester van Buren pinned the award on him, the winner warned of further erosion of seaport functions in the North Sea Canal area. Partly as a result of Amsterdam's housing plans and the phasing out of coal transhipment. 'Less tonnage does not equal less space,' Lahman said.


hester van buren (left) presents port medal to ron lahman (right)

The 78th Port Guild Dinner was made possible in part by: Bontrup, BD Containers, CBOX Containers, Corps van Vletterlieden, EVOS Amsterdam East, ING Bank, De Koperen Ploeg, KVSA, Loodswezen, Peinemann, Port Towage Amsterdam, Forkliftcenter, Port of Amsterdam, Vertom, Studio Saiid-Smale, Spliethoff, C.Steinweg-Handelsveem, TMA Logistics, VCK Logistics, Winsys IT Solutions and Zeehaven IJmuiden

Click here for image coverage of the 78th Harbor Guild Dinner and click here for the aftermovie.