INTERNATIONAL EVENTS. Baltic Ports Embrace the Future in Trelleborg


Over 120 participants gathered in Trelleborg, to take part at 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.

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.

Brian Simpson, the European Coordinator for the Motorways of the Sea programme, explained its recent status and plans for the future, while Konstantinos Rigas, representing Ports & Inland Navigation Unit at the European Commission, provided an overview of the implementation process of port regulations.


Baltic environmental standards

After taking a closer look at the future of the port industry, the conference shifted its focus to the environmental side of things. The participants had the chance to explore the vast experience the Baltic Sea region has in the area of sustainability and its willingness to share this knowledge with others.

Over the years, the Baltic ports and shipping lines implemented, with great success, a broad range of technological and managerial solutions in order to comply with various environmental regulations active in the region.

Participants of the discussion panel, dedicated to the topic of exporting of Baltic environmental standards, took a closer look at the possibilities for synergies between different approaches to environmental compliance. 

The panel, featuring Ditte Folke Henriksen, Head of Section at the Danish Maritime Authority, Poul Woodall, Director for Environment and Sustainability at DFDS A/S, Ulf Siwe from the STM Validation project and Gert Nørgaard, Manager Strategy & Planning at the Copenhagen Malmö Port, attracted many voices from the audience. Tommy Halen, stepping down from his position as the Managing Director at the Port of Trelleborg, summed up the discussion, saying that “it is important that ports are the frontrunners” and the first to take steps towards a green future instead of waiting for the authorities.

Baltic Sea region’s long standing tradition of innovation has been further explored in a special panel showcasing some of the most interesting projects, recently garnering a lot of attention and additionally underscoring the breadth of experience it has to offer.

This year also saw a slightly different approach to the development of the maritime transport industry, as Mia Rolf, CEO at Ideon Science Park, talked about the single, most important force behind every successful business – creativity. The port industry faces times of dynamic change, rapid evolution and unrestrained innovation. It needs to carefully define its challenges, since creativity and creating something new does not come without costs.


Baltic Ports Conference 2017 – top 11 quotes


The port industry needs to unleash its full potential.

Julian Skelnik, Chairman BPO


Europe has to remain a lighthouse, a beacon, for untainted, uncontested values of the EU.

Bo Petersson, Prof. of Political Science & IMER, Malmö University


Shipping and ports are a solution for Europe’s road transport problems.

Henrik Widerstahl, Deputy Managing Director, Ports of Stockholm


Work in partnership – climate change does not respect borders.

Petra Sörman, Environmental and Sustainability Strategist, WSP


Maritime needs to push itself.

Brian Simpson, European Coordinator for Motorways of the Sea, DG MOVE, European Commission


Fields of action for digital seaports – enhance infrastructure digitally, build data infrastructure, establish digital culture.

Hendrik Roreger, Head of Business Intelligence, Hamburg Port Authority


Two of the most important trends are climate change and the shift of production location back to the consumers (de-globalization).

Em. Prof. Han Ligteringen, Ports and Waterways, Delft University of Technology


Port of the future has 3 defining characteristics, which allow it to adapt to the changing environment – cooperation, innovation, sustainability.

Indra Vonck, Sr. Port Expert, Deloitte Port Services


We’re not talking about a one-size-fits-all solution.

Konstantinos Rigas, Unit „Ports & Inland Navigation”, DG MOVE, European Commission


Use magic. A great vision is like a national anthem. It has power to pull together, emotionally connect and inspire great things.

Mia Rolf,  CEO, Ideon Science Park



Prepared using the information of BPO


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