Frans van Zoelen

  • unnamedFrans van Zoelen is CLO of Havenbedrijf Rotterdam N.V. (Port of Rotterdam Authority) and Legal Counselor to the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) ( Frans van Zoelen chairs the IAPH Legal Committee and is a member of the Legal Advisory Network of the European Seaport Organisation (ESPO) ( In the Netherlands he chairs the Dutch Legal Network for Shipping and Transport (, and is a member of the Board of the Dutch Association for Maritime and Transport Law (

    Frans van Zoelen holds a master’s degree in civil and public law from Erasmus University Rotterdam, and has additional specializations in real estate law, company law, competition law and maritime law. With a master’s degree in public administration from the Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur, Frans van Zoelen also has developed an expertise and strong interest in how the public and private sector interface, a focus essential for navigating complex port and industrial environments.

    Frans van Zoelen lives in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, together with his wife and son.


    The Port Services and Transparency Regulation and other Essentials for the Tool Kit of a Port Counsel


    The presentation will focus on the management of the legal department of a European landlord port. Attention will be paid to relevant areas of law for being able to manage and run a seaport. Next to that consideration will be given to functional areas of knowledge which have to be understood to be effective as a port lawyer. Key areas in this respect are knowledge about financials to be capable to exercise competition law, the world of logistics in particular ports, stevedoring companies and shipping lines, the distinction between global initiated legislation (IMO) and European legislation, and the functionalities of branch organizations like the European Seaport Organisation (ESPO) and the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).

    Further attention will be paid to strategies like building up legal capacity on central or decentral level in the organisation or doing both, and finding a balance between in-house and outhouse legal support.

    And finally perspectives will be touched on how to stay relevant as a legal department: now and in the future.

    If time permits I would like to conclude with reflections on the Port Services and Transparency Regulation.