José Gonzalez succeeds Keshia Janssens as chairman of the maritime youth organization YoungShip Belgium. “It is important to listen to young professionals so that we get an even better picture of what is happening in their sector,” he says.

YoungShip Belgium is a non-profit association aimed at bringing together young professionals (up to 39 years old) from the maritime and port world and organizing networking activities. On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, the association kicked off the new year with the first board meeting and the biennial presidential election. José Gonzalez was unanimously elected as the new chairman by the board of directors. He takes over from Keshia Janssens, who will take on a more active role as chairwoman of YoungShip International.


“I am pleased to have been given the opportunity and trust of my fellow board members to take on the role of chairman,” says José Gonzalez. “Looking to the future, we want to reach even more young people with a view to diversity,” he says.

“It is important to listen to young people so that as a board of directors, we get an even better picture of what is happening in the maritime sector,” he emphasizes. “What are the current topics that interest them, what challenges are they facing, and what do they need? By organizing networking events and activities, we provide young professionals with the opportunity to meet, catch up, but also to share ideas and stimulate innovative thinking, which ultimately contributes to the development of the broader maritime industry.”


Like his predecessor Keshia Janssens, Gonzalez also works in the dredging sector. Since 2017, he has been employed by the Belgian group DEME. In his current role, he serves as lead category manager in corporate procurement.

International YoungShip originated in Norway in 2004 and has since spread to several other countries. Belgium started with five board members in 2018. At present, the Belgian association has around 300 members with a core group of about 60 members. The estimated number of members worldwide is around 8,000 in 36 countries.

YoungShip International has gained considerable experience and credibility in the sector through its various departments, increasingly acting as an interest group. To represent the viewpoints of young professionals, YoungShip aspires to become an advisory body to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of the United Nations. YoungShip Belgium is also represented at the international ministerial conference on the welfare of seafarers, which will take place on March 8, 2024, in Brussels. Keshia Janssens, chairwoman of YoungShip International and member of the board of directors of YoungShip Belgium, will speak there about the attractiveness of the sector.

Stronger together

Due to its great success, the second edition of the youth congress Young Antwerp Anchorage (YAA) will take place on May 30, 2024, at the KAVA Congress Center in Antwerp. The event is organized by four different youth network organizations, namely YoungShip Belgium, Young Forward, Jong Voka/Alfaport Voka, ASV The Next Generation.

Ocean Film Tour The next event of YoungShip Belgium is the anniversary edition of the film festival for ocean lovers ‘Ocean Film Tour’. This will take place on March 26, 2024, at the Zuiderpershuis. More information and registration can be found on our website.


Source Flows © Julie Desmet