Stéphanie Feys is the Managing Director of Zuidnatie, a logistics partner and terminal operator in the port of Antwerp-Bruges. She joined the company in 2010 as HR Manager and since 2016 has been able to run the company together with her father, Paul Feys, following a shareholder buyout.
Stéphanie has a Master’s degree in Business and Public Management, specialising in Business organization and HR, and her first job was with a payroll service provider. Her greatest strength and skill as a Managing Director is that she is people-oriented, which means that she encourages her team to use their skills, expertise, creativity and connections, with very positive results.
When she joined Zuidnatie, Stéphanie faced two challenges: being a woman running a large port company, which is an exception between Hamburg and Marseille, and being the daughter of the CEO. However, she took this opportunity with both hands and she ensured, together with the Management Board, for a constant growth of the company.
Despite her busy schedule, it is important for her to make time for friends and family.
Vision for the logistics industry
Over the next decade, digitalisation and innovation will play a crucial role in the growth of the industry. One implication of this is that although many companies in the logistics industry have their own systems, collaboration in terms of data exchange and information flow is an absolute must.
Stéphanie recognises that sustainability is not only an environmental concern, but also a business imperative. She wants to make a positive impact on the environment, society and stakeholders, while maintaining profitability.
It is Stéphanie’s ambition to run a sustainable business. With every investment, the sustainable option is also being considered. The aim is to convert all Zuidnatie’s assets to fully electric. By 2026, which is only three years away, the car fleet will be switched to full electric.
Looking back on a great memory
For more than a century and a half, Zuidnatie operated from the center of Antwerp. In the meantime, the port of Antwerp has expanded considerably and activities have moved along the new docks, so it was decided to move closer to where the logistics activities take place.
Last summer the Management Board, together with employees and customers, celebrated the 150 + 2 years anniversary of Zuidnatie. Recently Zuidnatie was also elected as Best Managed Company Gold and T&L Employer of the Year 2023. Stéphanie looks proudly back on these recognitions as it stands for the hard work of staff and Management Board.
Biggest challenge, becoming a crisis manager
Of course, the last few years have been challenging due to economic developments and unforeseen crises such as Corona, Brexit, the war in Ukraine, inflation and so on. Zuidnatie has learnt to be agile and resilient. Fortunately, as lines are so short, decisions are made quickly and Zuidnatie can operate as flexible as possible. The Management Board also listens to the needs of their employees and signals from the industry.
Stéphanie likes Steve Jobs’ words: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”. It is important to be passionate about your job and your industry. Stéphanie considers Zuidnatie as her second home and she hopes that its employees do too. If you love your job, you will do a great job! You are part of the company’s success and you are its best ambassadors.