Now that Brexit is done and dusted, reflecting about the future is extremely important for the Port of Zeebrugge. But also given the many other challenges looming like so many icebergs on the horizon, it’s important for the port authority and community to map everything out carefully and plot a clear course. And that’s why we went to work at TomorrowLab together with no fewer than 50 stakeholders.


“We're more than just a maritime crossroads”, says Joachim Coens, then CEO of the Maatschappij van de Brugse Zeehaven (MBZ), the company that operates the port. “The port of Zeebrugge has expanded into an ultramodern logistics platform and a versatile, accessible port.” It owes that to its flexibility and wide-ranging package of activities, but also to its sustainable and innovative view of the future.

For example, the port has made it a custom to get together every three years with all of the port actors for substantive discussions. The result? 'Bruges, port city in Europe': a conference and networking event that in each case generates fascinating and fruitful cross-fertilisation. Coens: “For example, we’re paying attention to self-driving vehicles, the consequences of Industry 4.0 and the energy issue. And that’s not to mention the impact of the impending Brexit.”

Tomorrowlab as pilot

Clearly, the stakeholders aren’t limited to the port alone. Coens: “That's why we conceived the idea of initiating a comprehensive process of brainstorming and discussion. And who better to pilot this than TomorrowLab? The mission has already produced some excellent results. TomorrowLab made sure that we could map out and understand the challenges, but also that we know which opportunities we can embrace and what actions we have to launch.”

To initiate a comprehensive brainstorming and discussion process about our future: who better to pilot this than TomorrowLab?

TomorrowLab’s mission? To bring together all of the involved parties, facilitate co-creation and trigger enthusiasm. Digitisation, technological developments and sustainability: with those three themes as guideline, seven cooperation agreements have already been signed in the meantime, with partners such as Fluxys and the KU Leuven.

The next step? Evolving into a ´smart´ port. “Globally connected and operating in accordance with the principles of Industry 4.0”, Coens explains. “But also to become the next generation automotive roll-on/roll-off hub, in order to maintain and reinforce our top position in the world.” Furthermore, Coens also wants to take the lead in the energy transition. “Now that, together with TomorrowLab, we’ve triggered the enthusiasm of all our stakeholders about the many challenges and opportunities, we can really get down to work.”

Foto 3 robotics

TomorrowLab and ABB Robotics find the way to the Belgian Construction Market

When ABB Robotics, an established brand and pioneer in the Dutch construction market, wanted to extend its activities to the Belgian market, the company called the support of TomorrowLab. With an in-depth exploration of the ecosystem in Flanders and an interactive inspiration day with industry peers, ABB Robotics has set the next steps on its way to expand their success thanks to their proven expertise in various industrial sectors.

Zorgnet Tomorrow Lab

Zorgnet-Icuro takes the future in its own hands

TomorrowLab and Zorgnet-Icuro have gone through an intensive strategic innovation program that will help the organisation to meet the upcoming challenges of the elderly care sector. TomorrowLab helped Zorgnet-Icuro to develop future scenarios and a strategic toolkit that will guide Zorgnet-Icuro member organisations in discussions about their future direction.