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The 2020 PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards has had over 120 nominations with over 50 businesses shortlisted.

Frans Calje

Cheif Executive Officer, PD Ports

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Frans joined PD Ports in May 2008 as Key Projects Director and member of the Senior Executive Team.

Having started his career at the Port of Rotterdam, Frans brings considerable experience in the development of container terminals throughout Europe and in the USA, gained during a very progressive career within APM Terminals.

As Senior Project Manager Business Development for APM Terminals International, he led the $100 million JV Project between APMT and CMA/CGM to deliver a 30 year concession for the port of Mobile, Alabama. In his last role as General Manager Project Implementation and Business Development, amongst other notable achievements Frans had been instrumental in the successful APMT bid for the first concession at the new Rotterdam Maasvlakte 2 development.

Frans was appointed Chief Executive Officer of PD Ports in 2017.

In the last nine years, Frans has been instrumental in the successful strategic transformation of Teesport’s container platform, which has led to consistent positive growth in container volumes through the acquisition of new business; affirming PD Ports’ position as a lead player in UK portcentric logistics.


Elaine WIlliamson

Senior International Trade Director, HSBC

Elaine is a Senior International Trade Director for HSBC Bank in Northern Region.

She supports businesses who trade internationally, working closely with colleagues in HSBCs TyneTees & Cumbria, North & West Yorkshire Corporate Banking Centres, as well as more widely across the UK and globally in HSBCs network of offices in 65 countries.

Elaine has enjoyed a wide-ranging career spanning 35 years plus with Clydesdale Bank, Midland Bank & HSBC working in many major cities throughout her career. She has spent the majority of her career in Business and Corporate banking with the last couple of years in International Trade, all front line looking after business clients.

She is passionate about supporting businesses in the Northern Power House to expand their International Trade business.


Suhail Aslam

 Teesside University

An MBA, Masters and Degree educated design engineer with extensive experience in Engineering Design, R&D and Innovation along with Project Management and multi-million pound budget responsibility.


An industrial career spanning 12 years and further 15 years in Higher Education offering extensive knowledge across many industries and sectors to support engineering and manufacturing challenges facing SME’s and larger organisations.

During my career to date I have worked with, or overseen delivery of projects to over 800 SMEs standing me in good stead to provide independent and critical appraisal of proposals, procurement tenders, and awards applications.


I also sit on the regional and national Future Manufacturing Awards panel for the Make UK, a position held for over 7 years.


Additionally I provide technical authoring and witness testimony for R&D Tax Claims.


Each category will be judged by a panel of expert judges. Their job is to review every entry, rating them against the criteria set for each category.


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