The No. 2 executive for Netherlands’ port of Rotterdam has been named the new executive director of the Port of Seattle.
Zeger van Asch van Wijck, adjunct director for the port of Rotterdam, will replace Jim Dwyer, who has resigned.
Van Wijck, 41, was approved unanimously by the Seattle port commission, commission President Henry Aronson said. He will assume his new duties in January. John Belford will continue as interim director until then.
The director, who answers to the Port of Seattle Commission, oversees nearly $1 billion in assets, including Seattle’s giant marine terminals and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The port employs 1,100.
Aronson said van Wijck, who has held his Rotterdam post for 3 1/2 years, was chosen because of his international experience with one of the world’s top ports. The port of Rotterdam handled 255 million metric tons of cargo last year, including 2.84 million containers. The Port of Seattle handled 10.4 million metric tons, including 1.03 million containers.
Some in Seattle’s marine industry questioned why the port commission went to Europe to find a new director.
“I’m shocked they went outside the country, but from what I gather the people at the port are happy they’re getting him, so we’ll just wait and see,” said Bill Laurence, vice president of the Pacific Coast chapter of American Waterways Operators.