The Netherlands is the maritime centre of Europe. It is also home to one of the strongest and most complete maritime clusters in the world.
This strong position is made possible by a multifaceted maritime industry, a very diverse fleet of sea-going vessels, Europe’s largest inland navigation fleet and the highest port capacity in Europe. In addition, the Netherlands is a global leader in the provision of offshore services and developing complex maritime systems.
Groundbreaking maritime products and services of the future are the drivers behind the increasingly successful maritime sector. The Maritime Knowledge Centre (MKC) is an early example of the golden triangle being innovative and inventive. This way it was able to conquer the international market. The Centre also plays a major role in fleshing out current policy for the top sectors. It does so by establishing links between knowledge and revenue.
Medium-sized enterprises are important players due to their specific expertise and creative input. Economic and social challenges are combined in 4 high-priority innovation themes:
- Winning at Sea
- Clean Ships
- Smart Ships
- Smart Ports
Winning at Sea
Winning at Sea focuses on technological solutions for extracting energy from the sea and the offshore mining of raw materials. The global market amounts to tens of billions of euros and is growing.
The Netherlands has a strong position in hydraulic engineering, shipping and offshore activities. The Netherlands excels both in operations on the seafloor and in extracting oil, gas and sustainable energy from the sea. Competition is quite limited. The Netherlands is also a leader in the construction, management and maintenance of offshore wind farms.
Clean ships are becoming increasingly important due to growing pressure from society. Various options are being investigated and built, concentrating on fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and material efficiency. Various alternative fuel applications are being examined and tested, resulting in commercialisation. This theme also includes noise reduction both above water and underwater. Clean failing and end-of-life aspects must definitely not be neglected.
Smart ships contribute to ships being better equipped for their many tasks at sea. They also lower the costs of construction and operation. This means that the size of crews and the costs of maintenance and operation are significantly reduced. Special attention should be paid to ensuring safety. Expanding the functionality and deployability of complex ships will improve their global competitive position in niche markets. The efficient and competitive building of increasingly smarter ships will lead to a strengthening of their position on the global market.
Smart ports are necessary to make the entire process from calling at port to transhipment at the quay more efficient for ships. Traffic control can be shortened by optimising the calling time. And also by better structuring the port and cargo handling. Research into the safety of operations is necessary to be able to guarantee the desired safety level when innovations are implemented. Ports are being built offshore. City ports are being considered for redevelopment and optimal and sustainable use.