Peter Goedvolk, former owner and founder of Argos Oil, got involved with First Dutch in 2014. Together with First Dutch’s partners, it was quickly decided that he would jointly lead the company towards the future to accelerate the development of innovative ventures and bring impactful solutions to the market.
Family of Companies
First Dutch has grown into a family of companies, enabling progress in the energy, technology, and health markets. With our global presence, we can support our customers worldwide in their transition towards a new, sustainable era. By empowering entrepreneurs to create sustainable, responsible technologies, products and services, we are helping to drive progress while positively impacting our communities.
What characterises First Dutch is our ability to see and do what is truly needed; we do not hesitate to make difficult decisions, focus on long-term value, and we don’t give up until objectives are reached.
- First Dutch through the eyes of Peter Goedvolk
We use our resources and expertise to provide mentoring, funding and networking opportunities to our family of companies, supporting them in bringing their ideas to life and scaling their businesses. By fostering the sustainable growth of our companies, we enable them to amplify their impact while we help drive positive change through their offerings.
With a team of in-house specialists, we offer a wide range of supporting services in the areas of:
- Finance & Operations
- Legal & Risk
- Human Resources
- ICT & Cyber Security
- Risk Management & Insurance
- Marketing & Communications
First Dutch operates in three markets, each with its own specialization, but what underpins all our activities is our promotion of a better future for all.Learn more
To meet the energy needs of our customers in the maritime, industrial and logistics sectors, our energy division offers a wide range of energy products and services. We help to accelerate the energy transition through our energy network. We address the rising demand for more sustainable energy products and services to enable emission reduction for both ourselves and our customers.
Our health network is committed to strengthening quality and access to healthcare, as well as meeting compliance and safety standards for people and the environment, both now and in the future.
The technology network is aimed at facilitating digital convergence between industry, businesses and operational processes. By harnessing technological innovations, we will enable a more intelligent, interconnected supply chain and boost efficiencies and productivity.
The story of First Dutch is a story of innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship. Founder Peter Goedvolk started out in the energy industry as a young entrepreneur in 1984. From its beginnings in Hoekse Waard, his company grew into the international energy company Argos Energies, a frontrunner in renewable energy. The company constructed a large-scale biodiesel plant, has been involved in generating CO2-neutral electricity in Germany and was one of the first companies in the Netherlands to blend 5% ethanol with biodiesel at its service stations. This pioneering work in biofuels was recognised in 2006, when Peter was named Port Man of the Year. Well ahead of its time, Peter’s investment was ultimately unsuccessful and was written off, though it proved to be a sign-on to the future. His unprecedented belief and confidence laid the foundation for First Dutch’s family of companies, aimed at making intelligent solutions accessible to all and assisting businesses to scale up sustainably and efficiently.
Shortly after, a unique opportunity arose to bring the business portfolio of the renowned knowledge institute TNO under the wings of First Dutch. This allowed First Dutch to expand its activities into health and technology markets, marking the start of First Dutch as a family of companies.
Guided by Peter Goedvolk’s vision, First Dutch stands for forward movement in a constantly changing world. Discover the complete history of First Dutch and Peter Goedvolk’s entrepreneurial story in our timeline below.
An Entrepreneurial Dream
In 1988, Peter became the sole owner of Van der Voort, a wholesale fuel business with several gas stations. With this expansion, Goud’s operations enlarged, and Peter decided to continue his future endeavours under a new name: GoudVoort Olie.
The Inception of Argos Oil
GoudVoort acquired three marine fuel oil suppliers between 1991 and 1994. With this expansion, GoudVoort was able to extend its product offering to its customers while obtaining a moderate shipping fleet. Argos, an organisation based in Vlaardingen, was one of these three companies and supplied ships in the port of Rotterdam with fuels and oil. Due to the internationally resonant name, Peter decided to rebrand the whole company to Argos Oil.
Terminal Pernis, The Netherlands
With its fleet of barges, tankers, warehouses, a depot, and a strategic network of crewed and uncrewed petrol stations, Argos became one of the most prominent independent oil companies in the Netherlands in 2003. Argos also acquired a part of Nerefco’s storage facilities to strengthen its market position in 2003. Nerefco was a joint venture between BP and ChevronTexaco.
This acquisition gave Argos ownership of a terminal with a total storage capacity of 200,000 cubic metres. Here, barges and ocean-going vessels could dock to store and transfer oil products.
Start of biofuel research
Although Argos mainly traded in fossil fuels, the company was highly committed to sustainability. That is why, starting in 2003, the company began exploring possibilities to offer more environmentally friendlier products and launched its research into biofuels.
The take-off of E-fuel
The transition towards becoming a sustainable energy company
In late 2005, Argos Oil announced the start of construction for a biodiesel pilot plant in Hoeksche Waard, The Netherlands. This plant would test how first-generation biodiesel could be made, with the knowledge gained from the pilot plant would later being used to help construct a large-scale biodiesel plant at the Argos terminal in Pernis, Netherlands.
Expanding the refinery
In 2003, Argos bought a storage site at the Nerefco refinery with a capacity of 200,000 cubic metres worth of storage tanks. In 2006, Argos decided to expand the 11-hectare site to 30 hectares to increase its storage capacity to 500,000 cubic metres. The site’s expansion allowed Argos to enlarge its activities in storing, processing and producing fuel products while fulfilling a long-held wish: the construction of a biodiesel plant to get involved in the fuel production process.
Argos makes racing biofuel E85 available to motorists
E85 is a greener fuel commonly used in the racing industry. In 2006, Argos Oil started offering this biofuel at its forecourts. E85 is a fuel in which 15% of conventional petrol is blended with 85% bioethanol. Aside from being more eco-friendly, the fuel is also known for its advantage of being more powerful than conventional fuels.
Port Man of the Year
For his pioneering work in biofuels, Peter Goedvolk was appointed 2006’s 26th Port Man of the Year by the Rotterdam Port Press Club Kyoto. With the production of biofuels, Argos Oil had given a considerable boost to Rotterdam as a bio-energy port while also contributing to reducing CO2 emissions. Peter himself has said he is proud of this title, but predominantly sees it as an acknowledgement of the entire company, its people, and its activities.
In April 2007, Argos enhanced its product offering at its forecourts by introducing B5 biodiesel. B5 is a diesel blend containing 5% rapeseed oil, making it a more environment-friendly fuel. Because the fuel primarily consists of traditional diesel, any diesel driver could easily switch to this more sustainable alternative.
BK-Gas, a subsidiary of Shell, is a supplier of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as, autogas. Unlike other fuels, LPG has a low sulphur level and a more even combustion which enables it to combust nearly without waste. That makes the fuel a much cleaner alternative compared to more traditional fuels.
In 2007, Argos Oil acquired the company from Shell to expand its portfolio of cleaner fuels and strengthen its international position. Consequently, in 2008, BK Gas opened its first outlets in Germany. Argos also foresees a role for BK Gas in the future to supply other more sustainable fuels such as LNG and hydrogen.
Cleaner fuel oil for shipping
Argos started supplying more sustainable fuel oil to the shipping industry in April 2007. Several ships of nautical service providers, such as the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Seaport Police, Rijkswaterstaat, de Koninklijke Roeiers Vereniging, Kotug and Fairplay were supplied with the fuel via Argos’ bunker boat. Argos began this initiative to support the ambition of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative by helping switch as many service companies in the port of Rotterdam as possible to more environmentally friendly fuel oil. Aside from supplying cleaner fuel oil, Argos has also supplied low-sulphur diesel, a cleaner fuel than conventional diesel, to Rotterdam’s Iconic Spido.
Argos broadened its product portfolio to serve its customers better and launched its line of lubricants in 2008 during the Bavaria City Race in Rotterdam.
Innovative Power Generation
Argos set up a unique venture to generate clean energy in order to supply electricity to around 25,000 households in Neuss, Germany. At the Neuss plant, Argos installed ‘HUMMEL’ energy systems, which offered an innovative method for producing energy by using biofuel for the combustion process, resulting in a nearly emission-free production process.
A HUMMEL roughly consisted of a fuel tank, a generator, a cogeneration system, and a catalyst that gave the residual gases an advanced post-treatment, in which a relatively small amount of biofuel produced a significant amount of energy or heat. Additionally, the CO2 and NOX particulate emission levels were a mere fraction of what was legally permitted.
In 2009, Argos Oil built a biodiesel plant with a capacity of 250,000 tonnes next to its terminal in Pernis.
In 2009, BK Gas established an eco-LPG programme. With the introduction of this programme, environment-conscious auto-gas consumers could drive climate-neutral at no additional cost.
BK Gas committed to offsetting its entire CO2 emissions from the LPG, which it offered in collaboration with the Climate Neutral Group. The Climate Neutral Group then invested these funds in measurable CO2 reduction projects, such as sustainable forest projects.
First- and second-generation biofuel
Argos Oil built a laboratory at its Pernis terminal for research into new types of biofuels. This laboratory was capable of converting waste oils and second-generation oil into biofuel.
Argos’ Research & Development Team also researched new approaches to large-scale production of high-quality biofuel from organic, non-food feedstock (second-generation biofuel) to move beyond first-generation biofuel.
Argos Oil partnered with Stenaline to explore potential ways to run maritime shipping with large volumes of biofuels.
Expansion of storage capabilities
Encouraging the take-off of cleaner fuels
Argos became the first service station in the Netherlands to lower the price of biofuel over regular Euro95. Argos aimed to enhance the take-off of cleaner fuels over traditional fuel with this pricing strategy.
Make it COUNT
After 30 years of entrepreneurship under Argos Oil, Peter Goedvolk embarked on a new adventure with the founding of the trading house COUNT. The organisation focused its activities on both soft commodities, such as sustainable cocoa, and hard commodities, such as oil, gas and renewables.
In 2015, COUNT began the construction of a storage terminal in Vlaardingen for renewable feedstock used in biofuel production.
Start First Dutch
The partners of First Dutch and Peter Goedvolk decided to collectively lead First Dutch towards the future so as to help accelerate the development of innovative companies and bring impactful solutions to the market.
First Dutch was presented with a unique opportunity in 2016 as they could bring the business portfolio of renowned institute TNO under its wings. Through this acquisition, TNO’s innovative technologies and startups could gain access to knowledge and capital, allowing them to grow effectively in the market. At the same time, First Dutch could expand its business activities in health and technology markets. The integration of TNO companies within First Dutch marked the beginning of our First Dutch family of companies.
Rotterdam Port Fund
In late 2016, the Port of Rotterdam Authority, NIBC, InnovationQuarter, Royal Doeksen and Rotterdam entrepreneurs Peter Goedvolk and Luc Braams decided to launch the Rotterdam Port Fund. Through the fund, they invest in innovative businesses that have the potential to make a difference in the transition to a more sustainable port area.
In 2018, Jeroen Baaima became the director and principal shareholder of COUNT the trading house would continue its activities under the name COUNT Group. First Dutch, with a substantial stake, would continue to support the organisation in its path towards a sustainable future. COUNT Group trades and distributes energy commodities, CO2-reduced aromatics, and renewable energy sources.
Eliminating animal testing
First Dutch adopted several innovative technologies from its acquisition of TNO Businesses. One of these technologies was the design of an artificial gastrointestinal system. This technology has been developing for over 30 years but has not yet reached the market. TNO invested tens of millions in the technology, and once First Dutch acquired the company, it also invested significantly so as to allow the technology to continue its development. Eventually, under First Dutch’s guidance, the technology could be transformed into a business model and enter the market as the novel TIM Company, offering a way to observe the effects of taking a particular drug without having to perform tests on laboratory animals. Thanks to First Dutch’s confidence in the solution and the TIM team, they successfully worked together to turn the technology into a sustainable business model. The technology has the advantage of being a proven alternative to animal testing, and today TIM has already been able to prevent thousands of animal tests.
Neste takes over COUNT Terminal in Vlaardingen
Neste took over the COUNT Terminal in Vlaardingen on 7 May 2020. With the terminal, Neste intended to strengthen its growth ambition as the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel produced from waste and residual raw materials.
Testing the quality of facemasks to prevent COVID-19 spread
To help prevent the continued spread of the coronavirus, ProQares, a partner of the First Dutch family of companies, was the first institution in the Netherlands to obtain approval to test the quality of face masks.
European Centre for Flow Measuremen
VSL is the National Measurement Institute of the Netherlands. The Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate established the institute as an independent organisation to manage and develop national primary measurement standards. VSL is a partner of the First Dutch family of companies.
First Dutch entered a long-term partnership with NLC in April 2021. The NLC team seeks promising medical inventions and technologies to help grow them into viable health tech ventures. Under this partnership, the First Dutch team has committed to welcoming start-ups into its family of companies at a relatively early stage. This commitment enables NLC to secure new funding earlier to support even more ventures and solutions.
Platform Zero is a hub focused on innovators in the energy and maritime sector. The team is constantly looking for innovative ventures that will let us work together to solve the planet’s biggest challenges. As announced in November 2021, First Dutch and Platform Zero launched a joint investment initiative to invest 10 million euros over the next five years in ventures that can make a significant difference in the energy transition.
One year later, Platform Zero opened its first Climate Campus in Rotterdam’s M4H district, serving as a physical hub from which to advance the energy transition by helping start-ups in the maritime and energy sector evolve and connecting them with other start-ups and multinationals.
COUNT Westgass AS
Faced with a pressing need to decarbonise the petrochemical market, companies are reinventing themselves to seek cleaner energy solutions. Westgass, based in Stavanger, has sold natural gas in the European market since 2016. It was an indispensable addition to the COUNT Group in the expansion of its portfolio range to include more sustainable energy products. Westgass will carry on its operations under the name COUNT Westgass AS.
First Dutch welcomed Burando Maritime Services to its family of companies in 2021. Burando Maritime Services has been on the scene for 40 years in the port of Rotterdam and has developed into a one-stop-ship service provider for the maritime and oil industry. First Dutch and Burando actively support the maritime sector’s transition to renewable energies.
S5 Agency World
First Dutch became the sole shareholder of S5 Agency World. The takeover enables S5 to accelerate its ambition of becoming the world’s leading port service provider. Backed by strong operating partners with prominent status in the shipping industry, S5 will continue as a unified company with the ability to act in a decisive, fast and agile manner. As S5 has a worldwide network, the partnership will enable the extended offering of low-carbon products and solutions to shipping customers worldwide.
The circular port
Burando Maritime Services, a partner of the First Dutch family of companies, acquired Martens Cleaning to expand its environmental services. Martens Cleaning is an environmental and logistics service provider that serves private individuals, governments, and maritime and industrial sectors. For decades, they have been collecting and processing shipping, domestic and industrial waste. As such, they are responsible for purifying marine waste materials by separating oil, water, and sludge. After this first separation, they then clean the water and oil. Through this process, they can give water and oil a second life, contributing to the circular economy.
Peter Goedvolk, Chairman of the Rotterdam Maritime Board
The Rotterdam Board has appointed Peter Goedvolk as Chairman of the Rotterdam Maritime Board. The Rotterdam Maritime Board is an independent advisory board serving Rotterdam and the region and is composed of 40 prominent leaders from the maritime business community, knowledge institutes and industry associations who join forces to strengthen the Rotterdam maritime cluster. With the appointment of Peter Goedvolk, the Rotterdam Maritime Board enters a new phase as a connecting network in Rotterdam and the region.
For the nineteenth time, the Financieele Dagblad organised the FD Gazellen: the awards for the fastest-growing companies in the Netherlands. The awards were presented on Tuesday, 22 November, to businesses that demonstrated at least 20% revenue growth from 2019 to 2021, ended the year profitably, and had a turnover of at least 250,000 euros. First Dutch is beyond proud that COUNT Group was recognised as the runner-up for being the fastest-growing large company in the Netherlands.
Our continued journey
Our future focus is to pursue our desire to advance bright ideas and pave the way for a more sustainable, healthier and brighter future. First Dutch continues to enable human progress by fostering sustainable growth of innovative energy, health, and technology businesses.
As we focus our activities on making a tangible impact, we aim to enhance human progress in the following ways:
In our energy activities, we follow the targets from the Paris Agreement to become carbon neutral.
We want to eliminate all animal testing and support the research and development of new, alternative technologies.
We want to help make the Port of Rotterdam the world’s cleanest and smartest port and serve as a role model for others.