ESPO Conference Paris – 25 and 26 April: we are ready, are you?

2024 03 26

In one month, we are gathering for the 20th edition of the ESPO Conference, hosted by the Union des Ports de France. If you want to be part of this annual highlight of the European port industry, free your agenda for 25 and 26 April and register now at Both conference seats and hotel rooms are being filled up quickly.

All information can be found on:

For those who never attended the ESPO Conference or did not have the time to go through the programme, let us guide you through these two amazing conference days.

The theme of this year’s conference is Net-zero, Resilient and Competitive Ports: Acting Now to Deliver Tomorrow.

After the official opening speeches, three eye-opening presentations will explain the geopolitical, economic and energy outlook for European ports. For this, we are thrilled to announce three real top experts: Dr Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, Senior Vice President, Geostrategy, Executive Team Member, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Hari Vamadevan, Executive Vice President for Energy Systems, DNV for UK & Ireland, and Tim Power, Managing Director, Drewry.

After that, Birgit Liodden, CEO of The Ocean Opportunity Lab, will inspire the audience with a presentation reflecting on the new role of ports and their opportunities for the city.

This will be followed by a fireside chat between three port academics: Theo Notteboom, Thanos Pallis, and Indra Vonck. How do they see the port of tomorrow?

In the afternoon of day one, we will hear from four port CEOs about how their ports are doing. They will enter into a debate with one of Europe’s main shipping lines and will give their views on current and future challenges and opportunities.

After that we want to look at implementation. A lot of legislation has been agreed upon over the last years, and now it is time to work on the application: we will discuss hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, ETS and last but not least, the entry into force of the Corporate Sustainable Reporting Directive. What do these initiatives mean for ports? After listening to the experts, we again give the floor to port executives to discuss their views. We end day one with a presentation on Artificial Intelligence and Chat GPT. Will this be the biggest game changer in the end?

In the evening, the Union des Ports de France is taking us to a unique venue, the Musée des Arts Forains, for an exquisite gala dinner. We won’t tell you more.

We kick off day two with a morning chat with some neighbouring ports. What does the EU policy imply to them? Are they following the same trends?

After that, we will talk about investments. Dr Peter de Langen will be presenting the new ESPO Port investment study. What is the investment outlook of Europe’s ports? Which categories of investments prevail for the next ten years? What are the total investment needs of European ports? Secondly, we will focus on how all these investments can actually be financed. What is the role of banks in financing sustainable port projects? What is CINEA's experience when it comes to ports' projects? What does the Commission have in mind for ports and port investments when it comes to preparing the new Connecting Europe Facility? 

We continue the morning discussions by looking at how to strengthen ports' resilience, given their strategic character, while supporting them further in their role as Europe’s main commercial door to the world. We have the pleasure of welcoming Damien Levie, Head of the Foreign Direct Investments Unit at DG Trade. He will explain the Commission’s approach towards foreign investments in ports.

In the second part of the morning, we are honoured to welcome Herald Ruijters, Deputy Director General of DG MOVE, for a keynote on the role of ports in Europe’s transport and infrastructure policy.

This will set the scene for the final political debate, where we will take stock of the last five years and look at the priorities ahead. Speeding up decarbonisation, enhancing resilience, strengthening competitiveness—how best to make this happen? For this debate, three port CEOs will discuss this with the Commission and the Chair of the Transport Committee in the European Parliament.

We end the Conference with a unique tour by boat on the Seine, following the route that will be taken during the opening of the Olympic Games in the summer of this year.

The conference will take place at Comet Bourse, a state-of-the-art conference venue in the city’s 2nd Arrondissement.  

We hope you agree that these will be two exciting days in Paris. You will gather a lot of knowledge, have plenty of networking opportunities, and all this in the fantastic decor of April in the centre of Paris.

If you plan to join us, please do not wait with the booking of your hotel and your conference pass. We have a special “family rate” if you come with 3 or more from one port, organisation or company.

Please register through:

If you have any practical or organisational questions and/or you need to be further convinced, give us a ring at ESPO or drop an email to our event manager: chiara.mantovano@espo.b

Looking forward to seeing you in Paris!

Source, ESPO


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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

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