Nick Vandenheiligenberg is the Senior Trade Analyst for Port Everglades, located in Broward County, FL. Nick is a current candidate of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) Professional Port Manager Program (PPM) and has an MBA with a concentration in Port/Supply Chain Management from Old Dominion University. Nick has been involved in the Maritime Industry for almost a decade, including work for the Virginia Port Authority.
What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
Answer: The most difficult thing about my job is adjusting to how quickly things happen in this industry. The supply chain is so interconnected that one individual problem can escalate very quickly if you aren’t on top of it.
In your opinion, how will the recent Hanjin bankruptcy affect Port Everglades and other US ports?
Answer: The Hanjin bankruptcy should not have a significant impact on Port Everglades. We do not have any direct services with Hanjin, so as a result, we do not move much Hanjin cargo. However, this event will create even more uncertainty in an industry that is already sitting on record low freight rates. Hanjin accounted for about 8% of US cargo, so many US ports and shippers will be wondering who/if/when the next shipping line to have issues could be. Finally, many shippers who potentially had their peak season merchandise on these ships may not get all of their goods to market now.
What trends do you see with trade in the Central America and Caribbean region?
Answer: The Caribbean and Central America have long been Port Everglades’ dominant trading partners, and we continue to see countries in this region grow with trade to/from the United States. One of the biggest trends in the region is the accessibility of the Latin American produce market. U.S. Law has required Latin American produce to enter the US above the 39th Parallel. Port Everglades, along with many other ports in the Southeast United States, have been allowed under a new pilot program to import these produce/perishable commodities. This will allow the Latin American growers to get their product to market quicker and have a much fresher product as a result. We’ve also seen a decrease in the offshoring of manufactured activities to Asia, which has spurred finished product growth with the US, for example, apparel products from Honduras & Guatemala.
How will the ports of Florida be affected by the recent changes in Cuba?
Answer: The Ports in Cuba will be positively affected by the recent changes in Cuba/America relations. Port Everglades remains one of the few ports that already has direct service to/from Cuba with our partners Crowley. With Florida’s proximity and relationship with Cuba, all the ports in Florida are hoping to take advantage of this opportunity.
Have you ever met anyone with a last name longer than yours?
Answer: Not that I can remember, and that’s something I probably wouldn’t forget!
If you would like to know more about Port Everglades, visit their webpage at www.porteverglades.net. If you would like to be interviewed for our 5 questions series, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.