Day 17, July 10, 2019

Vopak Workshop Presentation

Alarms were set for 0700 today, and the group was up and out early on our way to Erasmus for a meeting with the Maritime Economics and Logistics (MEL) faulty to talk about future education options at Erasmus. They told us about the master’s program they offer, and we learned that it is a very high-quality program compared to what other European programs have to offer. There was also an American student that was about to graduate the program. We had spoken to him at the Alumni event as well and he was more than happy to tell us whatever we wanted to know about the program. We only spent about an hour at Erasmus but were able to say thank you to the faculty that helped put together our plans for the trip.

After our meeting at Erasmus, we went back home and got ready to visit Vopak, an international company that provides bulk liquid storage for everything from tea to Petrochemicals. While the group went out for lunch, I stayed at the hostel to do some work on completing the blogs, organizing the pictures, and updating the food expense report. After skipping lunch, we began our 2-mile walk to the Vopak Office in a beautiful area of Rotterdam. Just a few minutes away from the Euro Mast, and across the street from an enormous park. The staff at Vopak seemed excited to host us, and they even had a cameraman filming our meeting for a future video for their social media. We were told our uniforms were very nice and that we look very professional, good social media content I suppose. After the meeting began, we were introduced to 5 Vopak employees, all of which were quite young and also rather new to Vopak. The meeting was eye opening to say the least, Vopak was a company I knew nothing about prior to the trip, yet they are a huge company that is very active in my field.

It was super interesting to hear what each employee does, what Vopak does, and how Vopak is developing for the future. VOPAK has a major impact on the energy, manufacturing, and agriculture (vegetable oil, alcohol) markets. This is due to the large portion of product that Vopak stores for these industries. Because of this, Vopak has a substantial focus on minimizing pollution, emission, and their carbon footprint. They do this to lessen their environmental footprint. One of their development programs is a new investment in flexible, modular solar panels to be installed on top of the storage tanks. To finish the meeting, they staff had us get into 3 groups, and to complete a mock development pitch. We had to decide on a new infrastructure project that would expedite the worlds shift towards hydrogen power. We had a choice to promote Liquid cryogenic Hydrogen, Ammonia hydrogen transport, or Toluene. Each was accompanied by varying pros and cons in the field of financial viability, environmental impact, and social acceptance. My group choice Liquid hydrogen development, and after making or presentation to the board, the Vopak staff declared us the winners and awarded each member with a solar powered rechargeable power bank. After this, we joined the staff to a local maritime themed restaurant for some Dutch snacks and some socializing. This was the last formal event for the trip, and each of the kids were excited to be done but also sad that the trip was ending. After the Vopak staff left, the students and Captain Pandey all made one last toast to a successful trip. The group and I all felt truly privileged to be a part of this trip, and the value of these experiences has made very clear to each student.