Paul Hoogwaerts

We have received the sad news of the passing of Paul Hoogwaerts on 18 December.   Paul will be remembered  by Nedlloyd Lines and P&O Nedlloyd colleagues for his long international shipping industry career.  He started with Nedlloyd in 1980 at sea as 4th officer and came ashore in 1985. Thereafter he and his wife, Hilde, lived in Miami, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) and then for PIL Sao Paulo (Brazil), Santiago (Chile) and Accra (Ghana).

Rob Mars has kindly given his permission for us to publish the very moving eulogy that he delivered at Paul's memorial service: 

"I stand here on behalf of many colleagues and friends of PONL and Nedlloyd from all over the world.  The compassion is enormous, Paul was a wonderful and respected colleague at every location he lived and worked. 

I first met Paul in Hong Kong at the end of 1995, where he had been working for the Europe trade for  several years.  I was looking for a place to live and visited Discovery Bay where you lived with your young family.  An island with a holiday atmosphere just half an hour from the busy city where you  worked. No cars, but golf carts.  Our introduction went a bit chaotic because young Romke had just had a collision with one, resulting in a big bump on his forehead...

You always cared deeply for your colleagues, always willing to help and give advice.  You enjoyed  sharing your knowledge and experience.  

You then left for Europe, where with the merger with P&O you met many new colleagues in Genoa first and later in Spain.  Your time there saw many professional challenges, but also lots of great times at work and with the family. 

We met again in Asia when you became the Singapore country manager in about 2000.  Times in  shipping were – once again - tough.  Cost saving was an important priority.  I remember well how you proudly talked about the significant reduction in office rent.  We know you as practical and nononsense. It didn't bother you that the cable car to Sentosa Island went straight through the  Harbourfront Tower 2 office building, that only made the office cheaper!

You liked to think out-of-the-box, coming up with creative solutions but always with a practical, down  to earth approach.

Paul Hoogwaerts at the Nedlloyd USA  Reunion in 2013



Then came the transition to Maersk, where we both worked until 2010, in this time we often emailed each other about life after Maersk.  Discussions about what and where to go next, will it be the  Netherlands or somewhere else, whether or not it would be as part of a job, what about taxes.  Your choice was NL, but that turned out not to be for long.

A new job at PIL took you to new continents, first South America and finally Africa.  There too you bumped into former colleagues and once you made the best of it, both at work and at home, even when there were inevitable setbacks.  You once referred to yourself in an email as 'tumbling tumbleweeds', a rootless plant.  Perhaps you know, Paul liked to speak with vivid imagery, humour  and a quip.  When I think of tumbleweed, I think of movie images of those plains, like the desert or steppe where a ball of branches and roots is blown by the wind.  Sometimes it calms down for a moment and seems to settle, but then rolls on again with a hint of wind...

You had found a wonderful place in Doorwerth to enjoy your retirement, together with Hilde, the children and a first granddaughter.  Unfortunately you have now come to a standstill and traveling the world is over, which is really far too soon.

On behalf of all colleagues: We're going to miss you. Thanks for all the friendship and collegiality.

Farewell Paul"

Rob Mars

We would like to pass on our deepest condolences to Paul's wife Hilde, Leanne, Tom and Maike, Romke, his sister Evita and other family members, and friends for their loss.