Baltic Ports embrace the future in Trelleborg
Over 120 participants gathered in Trelleborg, to take part in the first day of the annual Baltic Ports Conference. The event, organized by the Baltic Ports Organization and hosted by the Port of Trelleborg, focused on topics related to the future of the port industry. The changing political landscape, regulations, trends in the shipping and port sector as well as digitalization all made an appearance on the day’s agenda.
Facing change was the key topic of DAY I. A discussion panel moderated by Lauri Ojala, Professor of Logistics at the Turku School of Economics, examined the implications of mega and regional trends in port industry. Fast technological progress, shifts in global economic power, demographic and social change, climate change and resource scarcity as well as rapid urbanization were some of the aspects influencing the trends in port development.
Oleg Dekthyar, Deputy General for Commercial Affairs at the Sea Commercial Port of Ust-Luga and Thomas Gylling, Head of Marketing for Port Solutions at Konecranes also mentioned the need to match volume dynamics and space restrictions due to ports usual location near cities as additional aspects influencing port development. It also has to be considered that different trends apply to different kind of ports, based on their size, geographical location and type of cargo handled.
Future and digitalization go hand in hand. Advancements made in this area are set to have an enormous impact on the port industry. Ports need to not only identify the technology that matches their own, unique digital development strategy but also figure out how to properly implement it. Although digitalization is vital to the further evolution of the port industry, it does not remain without risks. Cybersecurity needs to be considered indispensable when taking steps into this new field.
Indra Vonck, senior port expert at Deloitte, stated the necessity to not only innovate, but innovate in the right way. The need for the port and shipping industry to innovate is driven by pressure and structural changes with digital extending the range of innovation possibilities as OT and IT converge. This enables digital to provide opportunities across the entire value chain.
The topic of digitalization has been expanded upon by Hendrik Roreger, Head of Business Intelligence at the Port of Hamburg Authority. He shared with the audience three fields of action for digital seaports – digital enhancement of infrastructure, building of data infrastructure and establishment of digital culture.
Change does not only affect technological and economical aspects of port development. The political landscape across the Baltic and Europe is also in constant flux. In his keynote speech, Bo Petersson, Professor of Political Science & IMER at the Malmö University, stressed the role of Europe as a beacon for uncontested and untainted core values of the EU, especially in these times, characterized by severe pressure under which liberal democracy finds itself.
DAY I also featured speeches by Brian Simpson, the European Coordinator for the Motorways of the Sea programme, explaining its recent status and plans for the future and an overview of the implementation process of port regulations presented by Konstantinos Rigas, Policy Officer, Unit “Ports & Inland Navigation” at the European Commission.
Brian Simpson said:
— “From my perspective it will be crucial to make sure that the importance of MoS policy is well reflected both in terms of a political priority and the financial envelope allocated to it”.
The day will be concluded during an exciting feast held at the Viking fortress Trelleborgen, where the participants will be able to relax in preparation for the second day of the Baltic Ports Conference 2017.