The World Ports Conference, not just for ports

By Patrick Verhoeven

Managing Director at International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH)

Energy transition, data collaboration, risk and reputation and business innovation – these are the four content streams of next year’s World Ports Conference, which will be held in Antwerp on 17-19 March 2020. These are themes that affect most businesses today, not just ports.

That is an intentional choice. We want the World Ports Conference to be more than a conference for ports.

Building on a 65-year old legacy, starting with the founding conference of the International Association of Ports and Harbors in Los Angeles back in 1955, the World Ports Conference starts a new life in Antwerp. We are turning the event into a platform where port managers don’t just meet their peers, but meet with their customers, service providers, regulators and other stakeholders.

All these players come together in ports, so it is only natural that they should also come together at the World Ports Conference. That is why in Antwerp you will be able to join discussions and workshops about decarbonisation of shipping, data collaboration in logistics, crisis communication and the fight against corruption, topics that are of interest to all players in the chain.

We are happy to have found a strong content partner in IHS Markit to make this ambition happen. Together we are making good progress in finalising the programme, with industry household names such as Emanuele Grimaldi and Clemence Cheng leading the list of nearly 40 speakers and panellists who already confirmed their participation, with several others to follow.

International experts and thought leaders including Elisabeth Waelbroeck-Rocha, chief international economist at IHS Markit and port economist Theo Notteboom will take the stage alongside senior executives of international trade associations such as the International Chamber of Shipping and the Cruise Lines International Association.

Digital innovators such as Google Cloud will be present and we are delighted to showcase our partnership with PortXL, the world’s first port accelerator. At institutional level, we can count on the participation of the International Maritime Organisation and the World Bank.

And of course, there will be ports’ people! Prior to joining the conference, senior executives of the world’s leading ports will meet at the Port Authorities Roundtable, an invitation-only meeting hosted by Port of Antwerp’s CEO Jacques Vandermeiren.

Being the host sponsor, Port of Antwerp will be offering an exclusive visit to the port on Friday after the conference, whereas its international port training centre APEC will kick-off the week with an executive course on the development of a sustainable port strategy, held under the auspices of the World Ports Sustainability Program.

Talking about sustainability, the winners of the 2020 IAPH Sustainability Awards will be announced during the conference gala dinner, held at the magnificently restored Handelsbeurs, which once housed the world's first stock exchange.

Discover the full programme.

Register now to take advantage of special advanced registration rates