After completing his studies in transport economics and maritime law at the University of Antwerp, Patrick Verhoeven started his career in the maritime sector in 1991, working in various departments of the Antwerp-based ship agent Grisar & Velge.
In 1993 he moved to Brussels where he established the office of FEPORT, the Federation of European Private Port Operators. Patrick Verhoeven was the first Secretary General of the organisation, a position which he held for seven years. During this period he also represented the interests of UNISTOCK - the European federation of agribulk storekeepers - and ECASBA - the European association of ship brokers and agents.
In 2000, Patrick Verhoeven was appointed Secretary General of the European Sea Ports Organisation. ESPO represents the port authorities, port associations and port administrations of the seaports of the European Union. The organisation was established in 1993 to promote policies and viewpoints of the European port sector with, primarily, the institutions of the European Union.
In parallel to his activities for ESPO, Patrick Verhoeven is currently preparing a doctoral thesis at the University of Antwerp on port management reform in Europe.