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Cultural transformation in port of Antwerp, realising the first business results while shaping the future, together with leaders and employees

Client situation & approach

Port of Antwerp is the EU’s second-largest seaport who faces several challenges in parallel: Ensuring growth in an increasingly competitive and unstable international market, managing the growing influence of pressure groups, managing the congestion issues linked to increased traffic, organizing a transition from the linear to the circular economy, maintaining the operational excellence while evolving from a sea port to a smart port, gathering data from different stakeholders and transforming these into value added information and services.

These changes, together with the arrival of new competitors, mean that the client needs to adapt continuously if it wants to stay “one step ahead” and safeguard its existence. Based on a trend analysis, interviews with stakeholders of the port platform community and employees, the future role of the client was defined. On top of the existing roles (Operator, Landlord, Authority), it became clear that the port was expected to take on a new role of Community Builder of the platform, being a facilitator to resolve structural and systemic issues to create a win–win for different players. This new role expects the client to evolve from a monopolist government institution to a stakeholder driven enterprise, which requires a fundamental change in strategy, processes, collaboration and human dynamics. This being a company wide culture transformation, EFESO worked on enterprise program portfolio alignment, leadership engagement, focused improvement initiatives and change management; collaborating with other specialist partners and with stakeholders in the port platform community.

The approach consists of:

  • Co-creation workshops with transversal Extended Leadership Teams (ELT) to define the strategic program portfolio and governance to determine the Company Priorities of the Enterprise Plan, linked to one overarching and compelling storyline
  • Launch of Leadership Journey where ELT members define and implement the desired cultural framework in sprints (strategy cycle process, winning teams, leadership, ...)
  • Definition, roll-out and follow-up of the Port Enterprise Portfolio Management Office and launch of the governance of SteerCos and project teams
  • Focused Process Improvement and change management initiatives within several divisions
  • Facilitation of Extended Enterprise Workshops to enhance collaboration with different stakeholders in the port platform

Initial results

  • Approved Strategic Project Portfolio and Governance Plan based on the new mission/vision as a compass for the company
  • First results from the Strategic Program Projects (Commercial Strategy, Waterbus, improvement of safety results, ...)
  • First business results, e.g. maintenance time reduction from 6 months to 6 weeks (“Major revisions” Throughput Time Reduction (TTR) on tugs from /- 6 months to /- 10 weeks, within budget – Throughput Time Reduction on “large planned maintenance” from /- 6 weeks to /- 3 weeks , within budget - Faster reaction to, and handling of, breakdowns due to role & responsibility clarification and leaner process)
  • Promising collaboration pilots with different stakeholders (shippers, forwarders, inward shippers, ...)
  • Improved management and operational practices during High Impact Moments in line with the desired culture