Standardisation and harmonisation champion Nico de Cauwer receives IPCSA’s Piet Jan ten Thije recognition award

When Piet Jan ten Thije died before his time in 2014, leaving behind a wife and young family, his colleagues at the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) wanted to honour his memory.

Hence the Piet Jan ten Thije recognition award was set up in honour of a much loved and respected vice-chairman of IPCSA, to recognise Piet Jan’s passion, energy and enthusiasm for ports, logistics and Community Systems and his commitment to IPCSA.

Hans Rook, IPCSA chairman, instigated the award to recognise individuals and organisations whose work has supported the development of IPCSA and who follow the values held by Piet Jan.

During IPCSA’s Tenth Anniversary Webinar this week, Hans announced that the award would be presented for the fourth time – on this occasion, to IPCSA’s ‘anchor man’ in the field of standardisation and harmonisation, Nico De Cauwer, business architect at the Port of Antwerp.

“Nico has and is still supporting us in our goal of standardisation. He actively represents us as one of the experts in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) FAL harmonisation work, is a trusted representative of IPCSA and is regularly called upon by the IMO to provide his insights and experience on standards and harmonisation,” said Hans.

“Since the beginning of this work, which was originally managed by the World Customs Organization (WCO), Nico has actively participated in its development at the IMO. He is also leading the UN/CEFACT project for the update of the IFTDGN message. As a member of PROTECT and IPCSA, Nico was one of a number of IPCSA members who supported the integration of PROTECT into IPCSA.”

Hans added: “IPCSA is now recognised around the world not only as an advocate of standardisation and harmonisation but also as an active player in supporting the international standards bodies to work together, and this is the biggest success Nico has had on behalf of IPCSA.”

Even as the award was announced, members of the IPCSA family were sharing their sadness at the sudden loss of another friend and colleague. Dominique Lebreton, member of the executive board at the French Port Community System specialist MGI, died on 12 June in a tragic road accident. He was 49.

Hans said: “Dear Nico, on this memorable day and although under the sad circumstances, I want to congratulate you in name of our founding members, Richard Morton (IPCSA secretary general) and myself with this well-deserved recognition.”

IPCSA arranged for a gift to be delivered to Nico by former colleague and long-term friend of IPCSA John Kerkhof.

Nico said: “It’s hugely appreciated and many, many thanks for the very kind words and appreciation made during the anniversary webinar, which makes the moment even more special to me.”

He added: “It is an absolute honour to be the fourth person to be awarded this recognition and it is a pleasure to support the dynamic spirit of the IPCSA family. Given the sad news we have had this week on the passing of Dominique Lebreton, the award is even more special as I will continue to work for the community in honour of not just Piet Jan ten Thije but also our friend and colleague Dominique.”