23. December 2020

Waving 2020 goodbye

Written by Wim Stubbe, Lead Partner of DUAL Ports for the DUAL Ports Newsletter, December 2020

2020 has been an inhuman year for entrepreneurs and artists. 2020 has been a dangerous year for fundamental human rights. Populists and politicians have been constantly looking for scapegoats, while they have walked their mink coats with the blessing of an invisible power. 2020 has been a champagne year for speculators, prophets of fake doom and managers. The worshipping of the Holy Umbrella and the instauration of a tsunami of paper procedures have been blossoming in the light of the drones that enlighten the empty streets of Europe.

2020 has been a tough year for transnational cooperation. The exchange of views and the in depth analyses have been replaced by the compressed video-platforms, whereby everyone could enjoy his/her 5 minutes of internet fame. Human interactions and open conversations were no longer an option. Socrates turns around in his grave, as well as Carl Jacobsen and his father Jacob Christian Jacobsen. The best ideas are still born on the bottom of a beer glass.

2020 has been a promising year for the energy transition. The European Commission has been constructing some of the foundations for greening our societies and industries. But presenting high ambitions is not enough. There will only be food on the table in the winter if the work at the fields can be done in the summer. The drive for innovation within our SME’s is very much present, but very fragile. And they need the financial and entrepreneurial support in order to pass the valley of death, as well as strong networks to test their products before entering their markets. The battle is not won. Networking has become a cyclocross track, where only bikes with one wheel are allowed. And the opposition from the global industries is fierce.

2020 has been a promising year for the recognition of the diversified role of the ports in the world of sustainability. Ports are no longer these fossil rocks, that have taken away a stretch of the beach, moving boxes from one side of Europe to the other side. Several policy documents of the European Commission underline the multifunctional role of the ports and the port communities today. Together with the shipowners and industrial partners, ports are not only organising the logistic operations, but they also play an active role in the energy transition. This can go from facilitating bunkering-operations for zero emission fuels, to the set-up of plants to produce these kind of fuels. Also in the fields of waste-treatment and circular economy, the ports play a prominent role. And finally, some ports take a leading role in the development of the blue industry.

Let’s put the tasty food and wines of 2020 in our backpacks before taking the road to 2021. Let’s work on the restitution of our human rights and duties. And let’s work on the reconstruction of our networks with an open and entrepreneurial mindset. The roads in 2021 will be steep and promising.

Wishing you all inspiring celebrations at the end of the year 2020 and a soft landing in 2021.

Wim Stubbe, Lead partner of DUAL Ports and Port of Oostende
T: +32 487 548 768 | E: wim.stubbe@portofoostende.be