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Portbase was founded in 2009 by the Port of Rotterdam and the Port of Amsterdam and has the broad support of the port business community. Our ambition is to make the logistics chains of the Dutch ports as attractive as possible through a one-stop shop. To this end Portbase connects all parties in the logistics chains of the Dutch port. With the Port Community System, Portbase facilitates data sharing between companies and information exchange with governments in order to work faster, more efficiently and at lower costs. Together with our growing community, Portbase is making data sharing increasingly valuable. With the aim of making the Dutch port community and thus the ports, the smartest in Europe.
“We’re not located in the port itself, but we support all the core logistical processes happening there down to the finest detail”. Koen Jellema, Sales manager
Before I came to Portbase I was an Account Manager at a ship supplying company. Even though I liked the job I felt I wanted to delve deeper into the actual matter of the business. I decided to go back to school in the evenings and I earned a Master’s degree in Shipping and Transport. It’s similar to a business degree but with a strong focus on maritime and logistics. This eventually led me to Portbase, and it’s a fantastic fit.
Making a difference in your story
Being a Sales Manager at a non-profit organization works out well. I’m proof of that at Portbase. The Sales Manager role at Portbase involves advising about logistic procedures and efficient ways to digitalize them. It’s my job to give distinctive advice and make sure Portbase stands out as the go-to place.
At Portbase we have flexible seating. That means no one has his or her own desk. At the end of the day I take all of my belongings with me and sit somewhere else the next day. Of course, when there are team meetings, you need to be together. In that case there’s an area available for meetings. There’s a great work-life balance at Portbase and there’s flexibility for personal circumstances. I feel free to leave early if I need to because I know I can make up for that time later on.
I connect new users, for example transport businesses, terminals or shipping lines. It’s a really dynamic and engaging work environment. The wheel is always in motion. You have to stay on top of what’s happening in the world. External situations have an impact on the logistic processes. We’re frequently called for advice from customers who want to know if certain events will affect them, or if it’s necessary for them to make any changes. I really enjoy the advising component.
The heart of Rotterdam
Portbase is ideally situated. We work right in the heart of Rotterdam. We’re not located in the port itself, but we support all the logistical processes happening there down to the finest detail. Rotterdam is an inspiring city and a great place to work. And of course it’s highly accessible by bus, train, metro, car, or the way I go, by bike!
“As Cloud Architect, I help other Portbase teams to get the most out of Cloud technology”. Melvyn de Kort, Cloud Architect
In search of the best talent
Portbase is looking for the finest in the field! We hire people that are familiar with the latest and most state- of- the- art technology. That makes us an interesting place to work. Portbase is what’s known as a ‘fast-follower’. When new technology comes out and is adapted we quickly follow suit. That’s something I’m sure will put us in the spotlight for new IT talent.
A few years ago, we started a trial to run our own virtual machines with Amazon. With the help of services provided by Amazon, we started to host our own applications. That was very successful. We made a complete transition to the Amazon cloud within a year. It was a huge switch and it also gave us the opportunity to make a lot of improvements to our existing software. All of our engineers have become AWS certified and we all work together to set up our cloud-native software. We’ve learned so much in a short period of time and it’s great to be applying this knowledge on a daily basis.
Experimenting with Amazon Web Services
The transition helped us to become a lot more flexible. For example, we can react much faster if there are problems in the production system. If clients have problems, we can resolve them much more quickly. We can also intervene to prevent issues from occurring. Amazon Web Services also enabled us to do quick experiments, so we can answer and serve clients more efficiently. In fact, we’ve introduced a tremendous amount of new technology, which makes the work really fun to do.
My days at Portbase are very diverse. Some days I sit with my team and work on the backlog, crossing off things on our to-do list. On other days you might find me intervening with small incidents in the production system. We often have meetings to discuss new technology we’re working with. On a regular basis, we do proof of concepts with new technology. We investigate whether it’s something that will help us achieve our goals quicker, cheaper or more efficiently. As a team, we constantly communicate and collaborate with each other, solving problems together. We help and support other teams in improving their technology, making productive decisions and getting the most out of the cloud technology.
I’ve been at Portbase so long because I really love the working environment and sense of community. Everyone is very friendly and always up for a chat, it’s really comfortable. We’re quite a studious organization; always curious about what new knowledge we can acquire within the field. We have PKEs where colleagues share new things they’ve been doing or learning with the rest of the team. I think sharing our expertise with each other is important for development.
Security is crucial for Portbase. We manage sensitive business data from many businesses in our community. Securely handling and processing this data is very important to our clients and to us. With everything I do and produce, I constantly ask myself the questions: Is there a possibility that this could get misused? How can I prevent that from happening? Alongside our employee’s rigorous security protocol we’ve also introduced different tools that help us secure our surroundings and our software.
The Portbase Feeling
We’re an extremely interesting company to work for. We commit to the latest and most cutting-edge technology. There’s so much you can learn here. We’re also perfectly situated; in the center of Rotterdam and next to the station. The Markthal is literally at our doorstep. We have an excellent work culture where we respect each other and strive to learn from one another. I know I can make significant impact here and be part of making important decisions. This makes working here really appealing. I won’t be going anywhere soon!
“Freedom in my job is really important to me.” Stephanie van den Berg, Portfoliomanager Strategy & innovatie
Rotterdam as a great place to work
I originally come from the Rotterdam area and went to school there. I’ve actually always known that I wanted to so ‘something’ that had to do with the Dutch Ports. In any case, I knew I wanted to work in Rotterdam at some point. When I was approached for a job at Portbase, it sparked something. Suddenly this possibility was becoming more real.
Charmed by Portbase
I had a great job at a big mail and package service provider. However, I felt I was ready to take the next step in my career. When I was approached by Portbase for a position as a Portfoliomanager, I became very curious. When I researched their website to learn more about the organization, I was surprised to see so many similarities with my previous work. In my former job, for example, I was also very busy with preparations for Brexit. There were also parallels in IT data streaming. I mean there’s really not such a big difference between doing track & trace for packages or for containers.
What ‘s important to you in your work?
I was used to a very flexible work environment from my last job. I could work from home, from a flexible location, or via conference calls. I really valued this freedom. It was a priority for me to have this same level of flexibility at a new job. I was also attracted to the culture and dynamic at Portbase. Another requirement for a new job is an employer that is open to innovation. You spend so much time at work, it’s essential to find an atmosphere and culture that’s a good fit.
The Portbase Feeling
I had a good feeling about Portbase as an employer from the very beginning. Before I even started working, I was already asked if I’d like to join a strategic management course. It didn’t take me long to decide! I already felt welcome at Portbase, but this made it even more special.
The customer first
I have a connecting role at Portbase and really enjoy creating a sense of unity. Our IT domain teams all have a roadmap and business plan with key strategic goals. We have to work together to make sure these goals are achieved. I also love that Portbase has a strategy advising board and customer panels. The fact that the customer comes first is a great starting point, which I really value.
On the lookout for innovations
One of the best parts of my job is that I’m working on a strategic long-term goal. I look at what’s going on in the world and at what’s needed in the ports. Finding out what’s going on in other ports is also important to me, it keeps me on top of things. I’m always on the lookout for innovations and new, strategic collaborations in the market. I feel perfectly at home at work. Portbase really is a great place to work!
“Sometimes I feel like I’m part of a real-life computer game.” Len Paalvast, Software Engineer
There’s a lot of freedom and personal choice in our team; from the language we speak, to the framework we choose to use. As a team, we opt for things that are the most practical with the least amount of dependence. We do really innovative things, like Event Sourcing.
From Geologist to IT-Tech
I’m actually a geologist by profession, but I’ve always been curious about IT. After I lost my job I realized how little jobs there really are in the geology field. I decided to make a change and I was lucky enough to get into a training course that retrains highly-educated people. And here I am now!
The Portbase Feeling
Portbase gives you freedom of choice, like flexible working hours. And the world we get to be a part of is really cool. The ships that come in, the containers that are imported and exported and the transport that continues further throughout the country. In my team we use the most state -of -the art techniques, better than I’ve seen anywhere else. It’s exciting to be part of something so cutting edge.
I love building cool things and lucky for me I get plenty of opportunities to do so at Portbase. It sometimes feels like I’m part of a real-life computer game. All these ships coming and going, and our system being in control of it all. It’s amazing that everything functions so efficiently. Portbase continues to develop at a fast pace. It’s great to be able to learn more about that every day.
“Portbase is made up of a group of driven and ambitious people with a common goal and vision.” Martijn Barendregt, Data Scientist
Portbase made a great first impression. The port itself is unique and appealing in many ways. I studied Artificial Intelligence and went on to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience. I was hired at Portbase for a Data Science position. There is a lot of overlap between scientific research and data science. The big difference is that I get to create things with direct impact, rather than just do research.
20% of your own time
At Portbase we have the opportunity to spend 20% of our work time on our own professional development. You can take a course or try out new technology that you’re curious about. Every other week we have knowledge sharing sessions where we present what we’ve been doing, share what we’ve learned and collaborate about challenges we’re facing.
You can’t take off running at Portbase. First you have to develop your knowledge and your understanding of the different logistic domains. You need to learn how things work and about the processes in and around the port. These are things you learn over time by experience and by collaborating with colleagues.
The Markthal as Cafeteria
We have the advantage of having the Markthal right under our nose! It’s great to be so close by and have so many options for lunch. You can choose to go outside and grab a bite, or get some take away and bring it back. It’s a great asset. Another advantage of working right in the city center is being able to commute by bike.
I feel like my input is valued at Portbase. We have a very open culture which creates a really nice atmosphere. We’re all driven and ambitious people with a common goal and vision. That can sometimes be a challenge; there can be a lot of competing opinions . However, I see this as an advantage. Everyone wants to contribute t to Portbase and to making the ports smarter every day.
“Bringing Portbase to the attention of stakeholders in every project is the challenge.” Bas van Amsterdam, Corporate Communication Advisor
What I do
I’ve worked as corporate communication advisor since 2016. My primary role is enhancing Portbase’s image and how we’re seen by the rest of the world. I’m invested in making sure that Portbase is recognized as an outstanding organization and brand. This is achieved through contact and collaboration with a network of government organizations, interest groups and media. I make sure all stakeholders are properly featured and that the right information is shared at the right moment. This helps to maintain Portbase’s strong and positive reputation.
I was looking for a new job when I came across a vacancy that immediately got my attention. It was about creating smarter ports in Holland. The Dutch ports are a big deal, and very impressive. Besides that, Portbase is a not-for-profit organization and that really appealed to me. By maintaining a neutral role, we’re able to establish a central position in port-wide development. That makes my job extremely interesting.
The fact that we’re not a commercial organization doesn’t mean that we don’t have targets. We’re accountable to our shareholders and supervisory directors who depend on us. They expect us to be moving in the right direction and achieving as much as possible with the investments being made. At the end of the year our bottom line is zero. Any profit we make is re-invested in the digital port.
Portbase in the media
Being a corporate communication advisor, I interact a lot with the media. I’m the first point of contact for requests for television interviews or articles. And if there are developments in the port that need to be announced or explained. I decide if a topic is interesting for Portbase. Brexit -for example- was in the news a lot this year. If it’s a topic that I feel is related to Portbase, I make sure our core message about it is clear and well formulated. During interviews, I guide and support the person being interviewed, often the director. Sometimes it can take a whole day to prepare for an item that’s only a minute and a half long. It’s a really exciting process to be part of. There’s such a buzz of excitement and positive tension in the air on those days. It’s amazing to get to see items about Portbase on NOS journal, RTL news or BBC.
The Portbase Feeling
Working for Dutch ports is unique. I don’t think I could ever find a job like this anywhere else. The fact that the Netherlands is actually our client makes working here special. We do work for the greater good and the aspect of our social impact is really important. We work together to promote growth and development in the ports and we make sure we have a strong competitive position. In our team we collaborate really well on projects and value each other’s input.
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