9th chainPORT Annual Meeting: Navigating the Future of Ports

9th chainPORT Annual Meeting: Navigating the Future of Ports

Advancing Innovation and Sustainability in an Evolving Economic, Societal, and Security Landscape

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges proudly hosted the 9th chainPORT Annual Meeting from September 6th to 8th, 2023, gathering influential figures from the port industry to address the challenges and prospects shaping the future of ports worldwide.

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp-Bruges and host of this year´s chainPORT Annual Meeting stated: “Over the past years, ports have been experiencing subsequent crises. Ports are levers for change that are determined to take up the challenge to be part of the future solution in the domains of climate change, energy security, data sharing, safety and security and many more. This situation requires ports to share insights and experiences and to raise the service levels to our port users. chainPORT undeniably reinforces this role.”

This year's event featured keynote addresses from Microsoft, offering profound insights into the digital transformations and challenges revolutionising the maritime sector. Key topics included artificial intelligence (AI), the industrial metaverse, and sustainability.

Myriam Broeders, CTO of Microsoft Belgium, shared a thought-provoking vision: "Ports of the future will serve as interactive bridges to new horizons. In navigating the currents of artificial intelligence and the industrial metaverse, let us remember that the compass to this new world is not just technology, but empathy and people empowered to achieve more, enriching the human experience rather than replacing it."

chainPORT has partnered with the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) to establish a collaborative project. The primary objective is to develop a common understanding on critical components of digital port infrastructure that fosters the harmonisation of data throughout the maritime supply chain. Port Authorities have leveraged its neutral role to strengthen the cooperation on information exchange between shipping lines -Digital Container Shipping Association- (DCSA), terminal operators -Technical Industry Committee 4.0- (TIC 4.0) and port community systems -International Port Community System Association- (IPCSA).

Building on existing results in harmonisation and standardisation of participating parties, the standard processes and terminology (International Maritime Organization - Global Industry Alliance (IMO-GIA) Guideline on Just-in-Time Arrivals, IMO-endorsed International Taskforce Port Call Optimization (ITPCO) Process Map, etc.) associated with time stamps in the port call process will be brought together, to ensure high data quality, standardization, and smooth information flow through real-time communication channels.

Furthermore, the project prioritises meeting the evolving needs of Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs), who, in the post-pandemic era, seek heightened control and visibility across their supply chains.

Through diligent collaboration and coordination with all relevant stakeholders, chainPORT is committed to enhancing supply chain resilience in ports.

"In close collaboration with our strategic partners, we are actively taking essential measures to bolster port resilience and optimise supply chain operations. These efforts have gained even greater urgency, given the intricate landscape of geopolitics and the growing complexities in the realm of cybersecurity. Ports, being critical components of our global infrastructure, are subject to a unique set of pressures and vulnerabilities. Our primary objective is to fortify their resilience, ensuring the uninterrupted flow of global trade" says Jens Meier, CEO of the Hamburg Port Authority and co-founder of chainPORT.

H.E. Herman Van Rompuy, EU President Emeritus and James Appathurai, NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges lead, both approached the challenging environment in which ports operate today, addressing economical, societal and security trends; domains which are inherently connected with port activities.

In line with chainPORT's primary project, Managing Director of SeaBridge nv, Nadine Van Rompay shed light on the challenges posed by the growing regulatory landscape that BCOs must adhere to. The dialogue emphasised the importance of data visibility to ensure seamless operations and the necessity of transforming and optimising supply chains through digitalisation.

The energy transition was also a top priority on the agenda, highlighted by a visit to the Fluxys premises and a keynote address by Raphaël De Winter, Director of Business Development and Innovation at Fluxys, who remarked that ports and infrastructure players stand at the forefront of the energy transition, offering a trifecta of strengths - strategic location, formidable firepower, and a relentless commitment to innovation. Their strategic location intricately weaves them into the very fabric of global import and export value chains, acting as the linchpin between maritime port clusters and hinterland industries.

"chainPORT continues to be a driving force behind our digitalization efforts, and now we are witnessing how important port operations are to the global community. That’s why the urgency of our work has never been stronger than it is today,” said Port of Los Angeles Deputy Executive Director Michael DiBernardo. "Decarbonization of the ocean supply chain is another major driver. In addition to sharing best practices during chainPORT’s Annual Meeting, the development of port-to-port initiatives -- like green cargo shipping corridors, for example – also underscore the need for broader, port-centric collaboration."

The chainPORT Annual Meeting remains a pivotal platform for port leaders to exchange knowledge, deliberate on best practices, and collaborate on pioneering solutions. With each passing year, it reaffirms the collective commitment to advancing the maritime industry towards a more prosperous and sustainable future.

About chainPORT

chainPORT is a multilateral partnership of the world’s leading ports that aims to leverage the latest developments in technology and realise the vision of a smart, interconnected, and digital port-ecosystem. Members are committed to the exchange of knowledge, innovation, and the promotion of strategic topics. chainPORT was initiated in April 2016 by the Port Authorities of Hamburg and Los Angeles in collaboration with the Global Institute of Logistics. The initiative is supported by the ports of Antwerp-Bruges, Barcelona, Busan, Felixstowe, Gothenburg, Indonesia, Montreal, Panama, Rotterdam, Singapore, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Tanger Med.



For media inquiries, please contact: Hamburg Port Authority AöR | Ingrid Boque | Tel.: +49 40 42847-5270 | E-mail: ingrid.boque@hpa.hamburg.de



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About Port of Antwerp-Bruges

With an overall throughput of 271 million tonnes per year, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is a critical hub in worldwide trade and industry. The port is a crucial link for the handling of containers, breakbulk and for the throughput of vehicles. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is home to 1,400 companies and accommodates the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe. The port provides, directly and indirectly, a total of around 164,000 jobs and generates an added value of 21 billion euros.
The ambition for Port of Antwerp-Bruges is clear - to become the world's first port that reconciles economy, people and climate. As well as growing in a sustainable way, the Port also aims to focus on its unique position as a logistics, maritime and industrial centre and to take the lead in the transition to a circular and low-carbon economy. Together with the port community, customers and other partners, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is actively seeking innovative solutions for a sustainable future. High on the agenda is its responsibility for the environment and the surrounding society. 

The port sites of Antwerp and Zeebrugge are operated by the Antwerp-Bruges Port Authority, a limited liability company of public law with the City of Antwerp and the City of Bruges as its shareholders. The port employs 1,800 people. Vice-Mayor of Antwerp Annick De Ridder is President of the Board of Directors, the Mayor of Bruges Dirk De fauw is the Vice-President. Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the port’s day-to-day management. 


The telephone number +32 492 15 41 39 is only for press inquiries. For other questions you can mail to communicatie@portofantwerpbruges.com

Port of Antwerp-Bruges
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