The conference took place in Sydney, Australia, 6-10 April 2014, and was officially opened by the Honorable Warren Truss, deputy prime minister of Australia and minister for Infrastructure. Preceding the official opening, the minister delivered a keynote address stressing that Sydney has, since 1788 when a first fleet of settlers arrived from Europe, remained the country’s most important gateway to international trade. He added that the country, as the biggest island nation in the world, has strongly pursued efficient waterfront operations to deal with everincreasing volumes of export and import. He further mentioned that the country has always sought free trade agreements with its trading partners to bring about a freer and fairer trade with less tariff, trade barriers and restrictions, all of which kept the country’s ports strong and efficient. Another keynote address entitled ‘Game changer – expansion of the Panama Canal’ was delivered by Luis Ferreira, communications specialist and engineer – canal expansion programme, the Panama Canal Authority. Luis explained the engineering challenges of this US$6 billion project and how a deeper, wider Panama Canal with its two new flights of triple locks would double the existing canal capacity and allow transit for vessels with three times the cargo when the upgraded passageway opens for business early next year.
Session 1 – Port Automation
The global charge towards port automation dominated presentations on day one of the conference. Dr. Yvo Saanen, managing director of Dutch firm TBA, led the discussion with an overview of automation benefits and challenges for port operations and infrastructure investment, mentioning quite interestingly that port automation is compared to creating a factory at a terminal and it must be planned properly to be more efficient, productive and safe. Alistair Field, Asciano-Patrick Terminals, Australia, provided a case study of how they approach port automation in Australia by introducing the Autostrad terminal in Brisbane operated by automated straddle carriers that can operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week. This has brought about safer, more productive and efficient terminal operations with less human accidents and injuries. The terminal was reportedly the very first terminal of its kind inaugurated in 2005. Dr. Tero Kokkov from Kalmar, a Finnish cargo handling equipment manufacturer, discussed how process and equipment automation drive greater efficiencies, resulting in lower overall operational costs, improved safety and better equipment availability.
Session 2 – Port planning and investment
As the Australia's largest national …
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