Supporting Port of Antwerp’s cultural transformation to become the home port for a sustainable future

Client situation and challenge

Realizing the first business results while shaping the future, together with leaders and employees.

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.

“To make Port of Antwerp future-proof, we had to reinvent the role of the port. That is why we started a radical change process, ranging from a new mission, vision, values, roles, strategic priorities and objectives, to a new organizational structure and culture. In order to realize such a major change, you must not only dare to pioneer, you must also be assisted by the right people. ROI-EFESO was a reliable partner in this process that went straight for its goal,” says Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of Port of Antwerp.


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
  • Development of the 4-year Business plan integrating the SDGs, together with the Senior & Middle management and the Sustainability Manager
  • Boosting the progression of the sustainable transition department by setting up and managing a governance with dedicated steercos on sustainable energy, industry and shipping
  • 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


Some Results:

  • Approved Strategic Project Portfolio and Governance Plan based on the new mission/vision as a compass for the company
  • Results from the Strategic Program Projects (Commercial Strategy, Waterbus, improvement of safety results, Realization of first milestones of Sustainable transition lighthouse projects, …)
  • Operational 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 with different stakeholders (shippers, forwarders, inward shippers, …) to realize a modal shift from truck to inward shipping. This is now a case presented at INSEAD
  • Increase the realization of strategic projects by 30%
  • Improved management and operational practices during High Impact Moments in line with the desired culture