I’m not one for self-congratulation, but every time I drive into Rotterdam, I feel an enormous sense of pride. A year and a half ago, we completed the construction of our half-kilometre-long Sif terminal, a 400-metre-long deep-sea wharf, the largest on the Maasvlakte.

I’m also proud of the outstanding cooperation we had with the port operator during the one and a half year construction project, while welding was already under way on our foundations and on the XL monopiles that we are able to dispatch from the site three or four times a week. I’m also immensely proud of the cooperation between Roermond and Rotterdam. It’s not only the result that feels right, but the feeling as well.

Hard work and a smile

While the construction was under way, I was based in Rotterdam full-time. I watched the sand flat transform into a fantastic production location. Everyone said it was impossible, but in just a year and a half we were fully operational, welding and coating the hulls that arrive via the inland waterways from Roermond to Rotterdam before storing them on site. Thanks to the exceptional depth and strength of the deep-sea wharf, we are able to hoist the 1000-tonne monopiles onto vessels with lighter cranes than would normally be possible.

The project itself, and the continued operations, involved huge commitment from everyone, something that is typical of Sif. In fact, four Roermond-based Sif staff even relocated to Rotterdam to realize their ambitions. Something else that I think is typical of Sif is the great excitement that abounds, even when things aren’t going well. Hard work and a smile are the ideal combination. Always keep your smile!

bartsif

A different type of leadership

It’s not something you come across every day, but we’re growing at pace, and that adds dynamism. But how do you manage large, complex projects? We continue to learn every single day. Handing out orders as a co-foreman is no longer enough – teamwork is more valuable than ever, and that requires a different kind of leader: someone who knows your strengths and the areas in which you are less proficient; someone who understands that everyone needs a different approach and that you need to help each other.

In our form of ‘remote cooperation,’ we need to communicate more often and more efficiently about the ‘why’ behind certain actions and about the role that everyone else plays in the chain. With this approach of clarity and collaboration, I think we’ll be able to create a great many ideas for improvement. We’re in full swing and that really makes me proud!

Bart Overbeek studied mechanical engineering at higher technical college and joined Sif as a trainee in 2002. He went on to work as a welder, hall coordinator, planner, and project manager. In 2015, he completed an MBA and started work as a location manager at Maasvlakte 2. Since 2018, he has been a production manager on the complete monopiles production line and travels back and forth between Roermond and Rotterdam.