ESPO 2014 Conference – 15-16 May – Gothenburg: Shall we go through the programme?

Conferences, Seminars, Forums, Ports & Terminals — By on April 10, 2014 at 4:03 PM

ESPOWithin a few weeks, ESPO will be heading to Scandinavia, where the Port of Gothenburg will be hosting the 11th ESPO Conference. The programme  is now final and special hotel rates are ending soon, so it is maybe the right time to guide you through two exciting days of conference.

This year, panellists and participants will try to seek an answer to the central question of this conference: a level playing field between ports: a must or a myth? Four plenary panel discussions should help participants in finding the answer.

A first panel will gather shippers, maritime consultants, container terminal builders and ports to debate about the increasing market forces challenging European ports. Now that shipping lines are busy forming alliances and terminals have to get ready to accommodate ever-increasing vessels, this panel discussion will definitely set the scene for what is expected to become an exciting conference.

A second panel will assess how the competitiveness of a port can be challenged by external factors on which ports have no leverage. How will the widening of the Panama Canal affect European port business? How strong is the competition between Panama and Suez? Should Arctic shipping really be seen as an issue of focus for European ports? Are EU neighbouring ports partners or competitors for European ports? Different interesting and high level speakers have lined up for this session and will certainly invite the audience to widen their horizons.

A third session will investigate which role transport and ports in particular can play in keeping industry in Europe and will alsoport of gothenburg 4 evaluate if EU transport policy is succeeding in strengthening this role. A panel of logistic and shipping companies, shippers and the European Court of Auditors will give their analysis. Ports will be asked to react.

Last but not least, in an fourth panel discussion, DG Move, DG Competition, DG Environment and the Parliament’s Rapporteur on the port regulation, Knut Fleckenstein will engage into a debate with the ports about the role of policy in enhancing the level playing field between ports. This will certainly trigger a heated debate.

For the first time, the ESPO conference will devote some conference time to hands-on discussions, exchanges of information and networking between participants. To that end, ten roundtables will be set up, dividing participants by theme of interest. The themes range from TEN-T towards the sulphur directive but will also be touching on research and on the  Portopia project.

And as every year, the ESPO Conference will feature some very interesting keynotes: Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Greek Minister for Shipping and Maritime Affairs and current President of the Transport Council of the EU, Andriaan Schout, Head of the European Studies Programme, Siim Kallas, Vice President and Commissioner for Transport and Yves Leterme, Deputy Secretary-General OECD (Belgian Prime Minister 2008-2011).

Still not convinced? Maybe, it is worth telling you that the Port of Gothenburg is playing the perfect host: wonderful Scandinavian meals, a nice setting and service driven engagement are waiting for you.

ESPO2If you haven’t registered yourself yet for the conference, please do so as soon as possible through Please be aware that special hotel rates are ending on 14 April.


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