IAPH 28th World Ports Conference opens in Los Angeles

  • Biennial event kicks off with progress reports from the IAPH technical committees

The Port of Los Angeles officially opened the biennial International Association of Ports and Harbors’ (IAPH) World Ports Conference on Monday.

The 28th edition of the largest-ever global gathering of port authorities began with a progress report on the issues currently being addressed by the eight IAPH technical committees.

Over the past two years, the Port Planning and Development Committee have been studying the specialised port infrastructure required to install and accommodate offshore wind farms. Hamburg Port Authority’s managing director Wolfgang Hurtienne opened proceedings by explaining how their development could help generate jobs and provide ports with an untapped stream of revenue. Hurtienne also highlighted the investment potential of offshore wind farms in Asia and how the UK, the largest offshore wind market in the world, is currently reaping the financial benefits of the technology.

Elsewhere, Dr Masahiko Furuichi, vice chair of the IAPH Port Planning and Development Committee, discussed the effect of the rapidly warming climate in the Polar Regions, and its potential to open up the Arctic Sea Routes (Northern Sea Route (NSR) and North West Passage) to shipping all year round. A navigable Arctic, as Dr. Furuichi explained, could shorten transit times between Europe and Asia by as much as 40 percent, however he warned that there is much to be done before these routes are considered a viable alternative to both the Suez and Panama Canal. A cost analysis of the NSR will be presented at the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) in Marseille, France, this July.

The first day of the week-long event culminated with an overview of two reports. Firstly, IADC secretary general Rene Kolman explained the complexity of land reclamation, and how the IADC’s Hydraulic Fill Manual can help prevent disputes arising from related projects. This was followed by a presentation of the findings from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Port Cities Programme. The OECD’s Olaf Merk commented on how a series of case studies conducted by the organisation on port cities, including Marseille, Rotterdam and Hong Kong, has helped them to identify the economic value of port cities and how there is a need for effective planning and development policies to lessen negative impacts driving from port activity. The full report will be published in September 2013.

The IAPH conference will bring together executives and officials representing more than 200 ports and businesses throughout the global port and maritime industry. IAPH member ports handle more than 60 percent of the world’s sea-borne trade and nearly 80 percent of the world’s containerised cargo.

Among the influential delegates are 88 port directors or board presidents from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Mideast, Australia and the Americas.

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