Major global ports, supply-chain thought leaders and shipping regulators will come together next March in Antwerp, Belgium for the IAPH World Ports Conference 2020. Their mutual goal: delivering a future where ports lead in energy transition, data collaboration, reputation management and business innovation.
For an idea of what to expect in Antwerp next March, attendees need look no further than the 2019 edition of this long-running IAPH event. It was clear at the conference (held in Guangzhou, China in May) that global port leaders are focused on creating a more collaborative future throughout the supply chain.
Lessons from Guangzhou
In fact, collaboration was the theme of the 2019 event, and breaking down business barriers was a clear priority for shipping leaders speaking in Guangzhou. “Ports are connectors of people and goods and culture – by nature we collaborate with our communities. Increasingly, through organisations like the IAPH, ports collaborate on a global scale,” Kurt Beckett, deputy CEO, Northwest Seaport Alliance, told attendees during a panel debate.
Jens Meier, CEO of the Port of Hamburg, agreed that technological gains should be maximised via cooperation among ports. “My thought is that if we have these technological developments, we should share it with our network and other ports,” he explained.
Yu Zenggang, executive vice-president at COSCO noted that carriers and ports would also need to continue to work together to spur technical innovation. “Business barriers between ports and carriers are already declining in the face of digitisation and other technological advances,” he explained. Zenggang suggested that co-operation may extend into the realm of ownership; shipping lines, he said, are likely to become more financially involved in ports, and vice versa.
Attendees at the 2020 edition of the IAPH World Ports Conference next March can expect similarly insightful and actionable discussion on data collaboration and business innovation. The three-day conference will feature a mix of panel discussions, one-to-one conversations, hands-on workshops and specialised working events to showcase unique, practical insights from business leaders who have engaged in successful and sustainable cross-industry collaboration.