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eCommerce in the Netherlands webinar

27/03/2014 in News, Nieuws

You are invited to the exclusive webinar looking at the eCommerce landscape in the Netherlands hosted by UK Trade & Investment in the Netherlands and Salesupply UK. This webinar will offer an introduction and practical guide to eCommerce in the Netherlands, specifically highlighting current trends and business opportunities relevant for UK companies looking to start or further their (web) export activities. Participants in this webinar will find out more about the current Dutch eCommerce landscape, obtain an insight in the business culture and the do’s and don’ts on how best to tackle the Dutch market.

Date: 31 March 2014 – Time: 12:00-13:00 (UK time) – Cost: Free

Contact: Mélanie Immink – T: +31 (0) 70 427 0412

Please register here.

Oceanology International 2014

17/03/2014 in News, Nieuws

From 11- 13 March 2014,  the world’s leading marine exhibition Oceanology International 2014 took place at London’s ExCel. This bi-annual exhibition attracted a large delegation of 33 Dutch companies including companies like Fugro, Geo Plus, Caris, Seabed, Hydro, N-Sea Survey and many more.

A Dutch pavillion was organised by the Dutch Ocean Group, bringing 11 of their member companies. The Dutch pavillion hosted its traditional ‘Lunch with the Dutch’ lunchtime reception on the first day of the exhibition. The Dutch Ocean Group exhibitors included Deltares, Marine Sampling Holland, Deep BV, MARIS, Nautikaris, No Limits Ships Shipyards, Periplus Group, RADAC, Siri Marine, Skilltrade, STC BV.

The next UK rendez-vous is Seaworks in Southampton 10-12 June 2014.

Dé doorbraak van getijdenenergie? Het Swansea Tidal Lagoon Power project

04/03/2014 in Nieuws

Het bedrijf Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay diende op 7 februari een planning application in bij de Britse overheid voor een getijdenenergie installatie in de Swansea Bay. De Nederlandse Ambassade sprak met Nederlander Ton van der Plas, die als Senior Marine Engineer betrokken is bij het project: ‘Dit project is absoluut een doorbraak voor commerciële getijdenenergie’, aldus Van der Plas.

Technologie

In de Swansea Bay is het hoogte verschil tussen eb en vloed 8 á 10 meter. Er is dus een enorme potentie voor elektriciteitsopwekking: zo’n 120.000 huishoudens zouden van elektriciteit kunnen worden voorzien. Daarvoor zou een 9,5 km lange dam met turbines in de baai worden geplaatst. Hiermee wordt een afgesloten lagoon gecreeerd. Bij vloed worden de turbines bij een bepaald waterstandsverschil geopend en stroomt de lagoon vol met water. Hierbij wordt elektriciteit opgewekt. Vlak voor dat de lagoon vol is gaan de sluizen open om snel water in te laten voor de volgende cyclus. Bij eb gaat het water de andere kant op: op die manier wordt vier keer per dag gebruik gemaakt van de getijden.

Swansea Bay is het eerste project van 5 projecten die Tidal Lagoon voor ogen heeft. Voor het tweede en derde project wordt gedacht aan enkele locaties in de Ierse Zee en Upper Severn. De vierde en vijfde locatie zijn nog niet bekend gemaakt.

Overheidsbijdrage

De kosten van het eerste project in Swansea Bay worden geschat op £850 miljoen. Van der Plas zegt hierover: ‘Tot nu toe is de overheid dan ook zeer constructief. Er wordt gekeken welke subsidie mogelijk is. Als we meerdere projecten doen, zijn de kosten natuurlijk lager. We denken voor het derde en vierde project te kunnen concurreren met wind- en nucleaire energie. In de media wordt gesproken over een gegarandeerde energieprijs van £180 per megawatt-hour voor het nieuwe project, wat behoorlijk veel hoger ligt dan dat voor windenergie (£155) en de afgesproken prijs voor de nieuwe nucleaire centrale bij Hinkley Point(£92,50).

Kansen voor Nederland

Op dit moment zijn twee Nederlandse bedrijven betrokken bij dit project: Van Oord en Royal TenCate. Zij zijn voor de maritieme kennis onmisbaar. Met de Nederlandse expertise worden nu golfbrekers ontwikkeld die op schaal worden getest in Wallingford. Ook de turbines zullen op schaal worden getest. ‘Daarbij maken we turbines waarbij het water twee richtingen op geleid kan worden, dus zowel bij eb als bij vloed. Sommige van de bestaande turbines kunnen dat al, maar doordat ze niet efficiënt genoeg zijn worden ze niet op die manier gebruikt. Door de nieuwe technologie, die dit project echt anders maakt dan andere projecten, maak je maximaal gebruik van de getijden’ aldus Van der Plas.

Van der Plas ziet kansen voor het Nederlands bedrijfsleven: ‘Voor het eerste project willen we vooral gebruik maken van lokale kennis en expertise. Maar voor maritieme kennis is Nederland onmisbaar. Daarnaast is dit project één van hopelijk vijf. Voor de volgende projecten sluit ik niet uit dat we voor de voorbereidingsfase een openbare aanbestedingsprocedure zullen doen. En andersom liggen er kansen voor Nederland om kennis van het VK te benutten voor getijdenenergie projecten in Nederland, zoals in de Oosterschelde’.

Doing Business in the UK: Valstar Holland’s Experience

04/03/2014 in News, Nieuws

  Valstar Holland

Valstar Holland, part of the BestFresh Group, is a specialist in exporting fruit and vegetables. Valstar sources everything in the fresh produce department, specializing in greenhouse products. All operations are managed in the Netherlands where about thirty people oversee this fast-moving business. The UK is an important market for Valstar. One of Valstar’s main strengths is the speed of delivery that the Poeldijk-based company offers. ”Thanks to our efficient sourcing and distribution systems, we manage to deliver from the Netherlands to London more quickly than a company within the UK could”, says Sales Director Edwin Vanlaerhoven. “When we receive an order in the morning, we are able to deliver the goods the same night, assuring the freshness of the products”.’  Having a base in the Westland in the Netherlands, close to transport hubs such as the Port of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport, gives Valstar flexibility to source the products the client needs.

Challenges and opportunities in the British market

 “The UK market is extremely competitive”, explains Vanlaerhoven. ”The supermarkets are very well-organized, which is typical of the UK market. Besides the supermarkets, we also deliver to the food-service sector and to wholesalers. The wholesalers are very important when it comes to ethnic food suppliers, like corner shops. There are so many of those up and down the UK and they are becoming a serious competitor for supermarkets when it comes to fruit and vegetables.”

Every market is different, and what Vanlaerhoven finds unique about the UK market is not that it is typically British, but that you come across a large number of nationalities. ”The British market is characterized by many subcultures; it is very international. We work with packers, mainly for in retail. There are lots of Italians on that side of the business. In the food markets, you’ll find many Turkish and Pakistani traders and there are also, of course, British traders. It makes an interesting mix of clients.”

The UK market may have its challenges, but as a 2013 report by Promar (commissioned by the Dutch Embassy in London) reveals, there are still plenty of opportunities for the food and horticultural sector. The growing demand for different kinds of fruit and vegetables by different ethnic groups in the UK offers huge opportunities for Dutch companies. Vanlaerhoven has a tip for anyone wanting to work with the UK: “Be aware of the differences in language and particularly what it really means. It’s easy to think that success is around the corner when someone says that your proposal is “interesting”, when in fact they just don’t want to offend you by saying they think it is not really interesting at all!”

 Source: Groente & Fruit Bureau

Source: Groente & Fruit Bureau

The Dutch Embassy: the first port of call when exporting to the UK

Vanlaerhoven came across the Dutch Embassy a few times in the last year or so. ”I went to an export event in the Netherlands, organized by the Chamber of Commerce and spoke to Mr. Henk de Jong, the Agricultural Counselor at the Embassy in London. I had actually just signed up to join a trade mission to the Midlands which was organized by the Embassy, NBSO Manchester, FrugiVenta and the Dutch Produce Association.” This trade mission took place in November 2013 when a group of Dutch business leaders visited Birmingham and Manchester to see first-hand the opportunities in this area for Dutch fruit and vegetable producers and traders. Valstar has been active on the UK market for many years and the trade mission gave Vanlaerhoven the possibility not just to meet new contacts, but also to re-connect with a number of existing clients. “When I saw the e-mail about the trade mission, I made up my mind quite quickly. The program was interesting and varied and the costs were very reasonable, so for me it was a good way of meeting a lot of useful contacts in a short space of time.”

Valstar is an expert in exporting and has been exporting all over the world for many years. According to Vanlaerhoven, embassies can be useful for anyone who is exporting or thinking of exporting. “It’s always a good idea to add embassies to your network. All embassies have a local network and it’s good to have access to that. Also, many British companies know Dutch products are of good quality, but they do not know how to reach these Dutch companies yet. That is where the embassy can help.  Furthermore, the knowledge embassies have of the local markets is very useful too. Finally, in my experience, embassies are much more approachable than people think. You can just give them a call and they always are happy to help. My experiences with embassies, not just in the UK, but also in Russia and the Middle East are positive. It is one of the first ports of call when you think of exporting.”

For more information, feel free to contact Henk de Jong (Agricultural Counselor) on:
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7590 3279
Fax: +44 (0)20 7581 5276
Email: lon-lnv@minbuza.nlThe UK Market for Agri-Food and Horticultural Products

Click on the image to download the report by Promar International on: The UK Market for Agri-Food and Horticultural Products: opportunities for Dutch SME’s