Bart Jan Koopman, Director at evofenedex

Bridges spoke with Bart Jan Koopman, Director at evofenedex. The entrepreneurs' association is the network of Dutch trading and production companies with a logistics or international operation and represents 15,000 companies that use logistics on a daily basis in more than 300 different sectors.

What role does evofenedex play in supporting its member companies?

Entrepreneurs’ association evofenedex is the network of Dutch trading and production companies with a logistics or international operation, representing 15000 companies that use logistics on a daily basis in more than 300 different sectors.

We ensure that our members organize their logistics optimally and do better internationally. We do this by removing obstacles and adding knowledge and opportunities. By offering our members a mix of products and services. And by representing their interests in the Netherlands and abroad. We have a unique network at home and abroad. Together, the members of evofenedex account for approximately 75 percent of all goods movements in or via the Netherlands. 

In addition, they account for a market share of over 90 percent in internal logistics in our country. It is estimated that 85 percent of all warehouse space in our country is occupied by members of evofenedex. Many shippers in the Netherlands and all major exporters are also members of evofenedex.

Logistics and international business are determining themes for their success for many companies. These companies face constant changes in their value chains, a strong influence from the global economy and increasing competition.

For them, in this dynamic world, we are the organization and network that adds value by being an inspiring source of knowledge, sharing experiences and representing interests. We call this unique mix 360 degrees logistics and international business. That is what our members can expect from us; a broad view on their world and a connection to all elements that guarantee success.

evofenedex in the world

A broad and international presence of evofenedex is necessary for a good representation of interests. Goods flows go all over the world. Laws, rules and agreements in this regard are increasingly being made at an international level. Already 80 percent of Dutch laws and regulations have their origin in Brussels (the European Union).

Trade agreements are very important to members of evofenedex. Globalization has many consequences for entrepreneurs. And geopolitical developments can seriously disrupt trade and logistics. Every reason for evofenedex to also be active internationally.

The most important organization for this is the European Schippers’ Council (ESC), a partnership of various national organizations from Europe. Through the ESC, evofenedex influences EU laws and regulations. The ESC is also committed to a well (functioning) economic market with as few obstacles as possible.

evofenedex is one of the largest members of ESC and plays a leading role there. Top-level consultations are regularly held with the European Commission on trade agreements, market forces, customs, the internal market and sustainability. ESC has direct access to the most relevant Directorates General.

Through the ESC, evofenedex is affiliated with the Global Shippers’ Alliance (GSA) that focus on facilitating air freight, ocean freight and trade worldwide. ESC is the leading business association representing the interest of European traders.

ESC is to defend the interest of shippers with the European Commission, Parliament and member-states. Important subjects are improving logistics by improving infrastructure and its use and supporting trade facilitation. The big challenge on achieving a serious reduction of emissions is also a major interest. GSA is focusing on service levels in the maritime industry, capacity for air-cargo and a good network of free trade agreements. evofenedex is a member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) via ESC: important for Incoterms, contacts with the WTO and the UN.

Also important to evofenedex, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) is a very influential organization that increasingly focuses on trade in addition to road transport. evofenedex plays a very active role there.

Via VNO-NCW, evofenedex is affiliated with the European business umbrella organization Business Europe. There she has access to important consultations on all modes of transport, customs and trade agreements.

The Logistical Alliance (Logistieke Alliantie) consists of 18 Dutch parties: companies and knowledge institutes that have joined forces to prepare Dutch logistics for the future. Finally, evofenedex also has close ties with many other international organizations including CLECAT, IATA, FIATA, TIACA, UIRR, ERFA, WSC and EBU.

How well placed is the Netherlands in terms of leading the European logistics and shipping sectors?

The Netherlands has a strong position in Europe for accommodating international trade by air and deep-sea. Rotterdam is the largest container-port in Europe and Amsterdam airport is the 3rd airport for freight in Europe.

The Netherlands is also located in a region with other important ports, the so-called Hamburg Le Havre range. Ports like Hamburg and Antwerp are situated very close to Rotterdam. The regional collaboration within the EU, the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) is involved in roughly one quarter of all air-cargo operations and one fifth of the maritime operations in the whole of Europe.

Apart from geographical position the Netherlands has a long tradition in trade-business collaboration. This results in an efficient customs clearance at ports. For Japan and Europe, it is very important that we can count on reliable transport between the ports and airports. Regrettably we are faced with big challenges in the maritime industry at the moment. Efficient transport is hampered by a lack of vessels and containers.

This situation has been caused by the suboptimal market situation with monopolistic tendencies (vessel operators are allowed by the EU-legislation to work more closely together than the normal legislation on competition allows).

The increased demand from ecommerce during the Covid crisis has deteriorated the situation to a large extend. This causes additionally unprecedented high freight costs. For countries where there is practically no alternative than maritime transport this is a big threat. Together with global organizations and the regional and national authorities shippers hope that the situation will improve soon. Connections into the hinterland from Rotterdam and Amsterdam airport are quite good. The port is benefitting from a dedicated rail-connection into Germany and also the inland shipping (barge transport) is intensively used.

More than 12% of all incoming cargo is transported to Germany by using barge transport. Existing alternatives for road transport also enable shippers to make use of greener modes and contribute to the high EU-ambitions on reducing CO2-emissions in 2030 by 55%.

How would you define the partnership between the Netherlands and Japan in terms of business and trade?

Historically the trade relationship between Japan and The Netherlands is an interesting one. In 1600 under the direction of Jacob Quaeckernaeck, the first Dutch ship reached Japan. Of the fleet of five ships that left Rotterdam two years before, Quackernaeck’s ship “De Liefde” (The Love) was the only ship to dock in Japan.

This event was the beginning of a unique trade relationship between the Netherlands and Japan, in which the Netherlands was the only Western country to trade with Japan for two centuries. Although The Netherlands has lost the monopoly, the trade relationship between Japan and The Netherlands is still important.

The Netherlands exports for 4.5 billion Euro to Japan; the import is considerably higher with more than 8 billion Euro. Taken import and export together, the contribution of Japan to the Dutch international trade is 1.3% in 2019. This is the 15th place on the ranking of most important trade partners. For the EU as a whole the figures are even more impressive as Japan is for the whole EU27 the 7th important trade partner. 

In comparable countries in Europe, like Germany, trade with Japan contributes even more to GNP than it does in The Netherlands. Conclusion could be that there is still an opportunity for the Dutch exporters and importers for extension of trade with Japan.

Bart Jan Koopman, Director at evofenedex

In comparable countries in Europe, like Germany, trade with Japan contributes even more to GNP than it does in The Netherlands. Conclusion could be that there is still an opportunity for the Dutch exporters and importers for extension of trade with Japan.

Important is also the recent developments in Europe. Japan and the EU have concluded an important free trade agreement. This has facilitated trade with Japan a great deal as standards have been harmonized and 1 billion of customs duties have been removed. The expectation of the European Commission is that trade between Japan and the EU can be increased with a value of 36 billion Euro. For the Netherlands it has created a new market for Dutch produced agricultural products such as Gouda cheese.

The Netherlands can learn from Japan in reducing administrative burdens in trade. Where The Netherlands is at place 41 of the World Bank easy doing business index, Japan is 12 positions higher at stage 29. Japan was for a long time considered a relatively closed market. These figures show that this situation is something of the past.

What message do you have for our readers regarding the work of evofenedex, post-pandemic?

We live in a world where the “abnormal” is increasingly becoming the “normal”. At the moment disruptions and disruptions within the supply chain are everyday’s business. This may have to do with the consequences of the COVID pandemic, but also with issues such as staff shortages, shortages of raw materials and chips, high rates for sea freight, which put pressure on margins. And the sales department of companies sometimes no longer knows whether there is enough product in stock to sell. Supply Chain is becoming more and more in command.

Click to view White Paper

Among other things, evofenedex sees it as its task to support its members in getting a better grip on their supply chain and their processes, so that disruptions can be better absorbed and predicted and their consequences better mitigated. This creates resilient, agile and robust companies.

In March 2021 evofenedex published a White paper by Jack van der Veen, holder of the evofenedex Chair Supply Chain Management, at Nyenrode Business Universiteit: ‘Implementing new Supply Chain Business Models: Risk Management in Cross-border Trade’.

Related Articles


Related Articles