ESPO Conference: Session on new players moderated by BPO

May 24 2019

ESPO Conference: Session on new players moderated by BPO

The annual ESPO Conference concludes today in Livorno, Italy. The event, held on 23-24 of May focused on the upcoming game changers for the port industry, including among others the new trade and geopolitical environment, the future shape of ports as workplaces and new players entering the market. That last topic was tackled during a session moderated by the Baltic Ports Organization.

While a rather conservative industry in comparison to many others, the port sector is still undergoing change and times of increased connectivity, data access and ever-growing demand from clients, this change is happening faster than before. The ports can’t remain still while the world is changing all around them and due to their special place in the logistics chain the need to adapt is very real.

Digitalization has been a buzz word in many an industry and also the topic of Dr. Markus Kückelhaus’ (DHL) presentation. He spoke about the digitalization and future of supply chains, underscoring the scope of opportunity digital solutions offer. According to him, 40% of all data generated by 2020 will come from connected sensors. The worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) market will amass to $ 1.7 trillion, with the technology allowing for a 25% reduction in maintenance costs. Looking even farther into the future, in the next 20 years, the “industrial internet” will add $ 10-15 trillion to the global GDP. The potential seems huge.

Another important driver of change has been analyzed in a presentation by Robert Hall (Cushman & Wakefield), speaking about the changing face of distribution. Eurostat forecasts that demand for freight transport in continental Europe will almost triple (182%) in the span between 2010 and 2050. This will lead to higher operating costs, estimated to increase by up to 80% in 2050. Technology can provide answers to these challenges. As does combined transport. Relying principally on road transport is no longer feasible and Public-Private Sector Partnerships can be the key to making combined transport become available and reliable.

Duisport, another speech presented by Sascha Treppte, is now the main trans-shipment and gateway distribution point for goods traded with China and the biggest European hinterland logistics hub, demonstrating that combined transport can indeed work and be feasible, linking road transportation, trains, inland navigation, and short-sea connections.

Additionally, Joyce Bliek from Port of Rotterdam presented the port industry’s way toward digitalization, while Sam Quintelier, Brussels Airport, focused on how airports could become an intermodal partner for ports.

Bogdan Ołdakowski, BPO Secretary General, session moderator, offered the following comment:
"Transport and logistics sectors undergo an integration era. It was clearly seen from the panel discussion that one of the main challenges is to build a culture of trust and openness among the industry players. There are many examples in Baltic ports on the partnership between ports for common solutions for the whole industry."

At the conference, the ESPO memorandum was presented with ten priorities and ten fields of action identified for the next five years.