Michiel Valee

Michiel Valee

A visionary empowering logistics teams to work more efficiently and pleasantly

Maritime STAR | Awarded by Spire Logo

Spire Maritime is recognizing extraordinary people in the maritime industry. We’re highlighting people working to achieve extraordinary tasks, break down barriers, and enable industry change, for the better.

Meet Michiel Valee, responsible for implementation of the wildest automations, Michiel is the Cofounder & Tech Lead of Dockflow, the world’s first logistics enablement platform.  Dockflow helps freight forwarders and shippers gain control over their sea-going container shipments by raising exception flags and notifications for containers that require attention.

We sat down with Michiel and asked him a few personal questions to get to know this Maritime Star on a more personal level. Here’s a bit of that conversation:

Question: Where do you live?

Answer: Antwerp, Belgium

Question: Recommended places to eat at or visit in your city

Answer: “Droogdokkenpark” – A park on the border between city, port and the river connecting both.

Question: What do you love about working in the Maritime industry?

Answer: Logistics for me is about people that work together to achieve a single goal: moving a piece of cargo from A to B. I find it marvelous to see people working together towards the same goal across cultures, languages, systems and all other unexpected barriers that we see daily in maritime shipping.

Question: Where do you find your inspiration?

Answer: It always strikes me that shipping with containers and all associated container infrastructure (vessels and terminals) are a relatively recent phenomenon, it’s all less than 100 years old! This inspires me to act fast, because with digitization, evolutions can go even quicker.

Tell us 2 truths and a lie about you:

(*the lie is at the bottom of the article)

  1. Every first Sunday of the month, I have a planned formal meeting with myself to check in with myself
  2. Every year, I host a big wine-tasting event for 100 people where we taste in total 100 bottles of wine
  3. Every day, I go through a checklist in the morning to check off all my morning routine tasks

Question: What is your favorite ship type and why?

Answer: I’m actually more of an aviation enthusiast! Multimodality is the future! I fly a Boeing 737 regularly, in the simulator though 😉

Question: What is one change you would like to see happen in the Maritime industry?

Answer: I’d love to see the industry to be more attractive. Because of the outdated image, it’s often overlooked by young people in their career choices.

Question: Who are some of your hero’s and why?

Answer: Jack Ma is definitely an inspiration, he had a bold vision and actually implemented it. As a tech-founder, I learn from him that it’s important to see the vision for the future, as well as the details for implementation.

Question: What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? (The long-term potential, surprising applications, a misconception debunked, etc.)

Answer: I haven’t seen any sector that is more nonsense-proof than the maritime logistics industry. Goods are either delivered or not delivered. This “physical mindset” is applied to your promises as well. People want to see you deliver on your promises and are more than happy to discuss where they can help. This means you can make great profound connections.

Question: What is your favorite port of call & why?

Answer: Port of Antwerp – the mix of pure logistics as well as added value services makes it a fertile ground for innovation

Question: If you were shipwrecked and left stranded on an island, what things would you want to have with you?

Answer: Lots of rum – I’d go full Johnny Depp and hope for an eventual easy way out

Question: What is your favorite Cause

Answer: Medecins sans Frontieres – contrary to what the name would suggest, a lot of their work is logistics. Did you know they can setup a full hospital anywhere in the world in just a few days time?

Book, Movie, or Film Recommendation

James Bond – absolutely love the movies. One of the few films I will see in theatres.

Thank you Michiel!

A big thank you to Michiel for taking the time to meet with us and for his extraordinary efforts to raise awareness about freight logistics. Your efforts truly make you a Maritime Star!

Learn more about Michiel at LinkedIn and at Dockflow

*The lie is: The wine tasting event – it’s not 100 bottles of wine that we taste, but an average of 220 bottles (that’s 2.2bottles/person!)

Please send us your ideas and recommendations for our next Maritime Star. We’re always interested in learning about innovative approaches to solve maritime industry problems.