An impressive group of 120 international speakers and attendees gathered at the Marmara Taksim, downtown Istanbul, for the 2nd Annual Port Expansion Summit on the 14th and 15th March 2013.
The audience came to learn about port projects -both expansion and green field- in the regions Turkey, the Black Sea and the South-East Mediterranean.
It is undeniable that ports in the region have undergone massive growth in recent years, and are still expected to continue expansion stimulated by a variety of government initiatives, BOT and private investments. Majority of the sessions during the 2-day conference confirmed the wave of expansion that is taking place in the regional port sector, with the challenging question whether container volumes will come to counter overcapacity and maintain healthy competition levels.
Thursday morning Day 1`s chairman Michiel Ybema, Director Ports Investments and Projects, APM Terminals, immediately set the trend for an interactive and informative program by encouraging the audience to challenge presenters with questions and remarks.
The agenda started with insights in Turkey`s Container Volume Developments and Current Container Terminal Capacity, by Hüseyin Sipahioğlu, SeaPort Consultant, figures of future growth showed an astonishing expected increase rate of 142%. His speech was followed by a session from Francesco Mariana, President and Michela Cariglia, Head of International and European Projects Team with the Port of Levante, they both stressed the importance of innovative ways of cooperation between their port authority in the south of Italy and other regional ports in order to boost the sector.
When the third speaker, Hüseyin Özhan, Principal Banker - Transport from EBRD, introduced the governmental, private and BOT investment projects of Turkey, he was directly asked which ones, in his opinion, would get priority over others.
On Friday morning Ülya Lekili, Head of Ports Department, Directorate General, Infrastructure Investments, Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, Turkey, confirmed the figures of government projects but the audience could also immediately learn from her that the expansions will happen in phases, with evaluation intervals.
Right after the Thursday morning tea-break Arthur Nitsevych, Managing Partner, Interlegal, revealed useful information on where the Ukrainian port sector is standing, with updates more particularly on the recently launched Law on Sea Ports by the government in Ukraine.
In the 5th session Jesper Fuchs and Ida Brǿker brought a warmly welcomed technical presentation on hydrographics: they explained the mapping of sedimentation in harbours and how their technology has an effective impact on layout design of ports. Both of them work for DHI, Jesper Fuchs as Head of Projects, Ports and Offshore Technology, Ida Brǿker as Head of Department, Coastal and Estuarine Dynamics.
Roy van Eijsden, Managing Director with Royal Haskoning DHV ELC Group in Turkey, introduced the plans of the New Baku Sea Trade Port lay-out; the new project information was enriched by comments of those present at the conference.
The afternoon continued with Andreas Gruber and Erkan Tekin, Port Application Manager, Terex Deutschland and Terex Fuchs Dealer, Yuratex, respectively. Mr Tekin explained with direct honesty the mobile industrial handling equipment market and its challenges inside Turkey. The Terex session was followed by a presentation about Steel Sheet Piling by ArcelorMittal, Peter Remenyi, Senior Sales Manager flew in from Luxemburg to describe with passion and efficiency the flexibility of their piling systems for port constructions.
Thomas Möser, Chairman of Danube Logistics and Giurgiulesti Free Trade Zone in Moldavia took the stage after the tea-break. The presentation showed how Europe is developing river shipping as alternatives for the Black Sea – West Europe link via the Dardanelles. Mr Möser`s port recently received heavy investments and is expected to support the growth of Danube container traffic.
The chairman of the day, Michiel Ybema, continued with his own presentation on Blue Ocean strategies for attracting container volumes to one’s port. He definitely impressed the audience with his views on how to guarantee business through diversification in approaches. He ended his presentations with brief insights and facts into the Petkim-APM Terminals project, the Agean Gateway Terminal, and the APM Terminals Poti Sea Port in Georgia.
The day closed with a panel discussion joined by Niyazi Zalgi, from Portia, Keti Kerevan, Batumi International Container Terminal, Gokhan from Maersk Lines, Alp Capa from Marport and Rafael Sapina Garcia from ValenciaPort Foundation. Mr Gokhan for instance pointed out the need of improved customs procedures in Turkey.
Friday morning after the above mentioned speech by Ülya Lekili, the audience showed a lot of interest in the well presented outline from Mr Karlis Athanasios, Head of Strategic Development, Pireaus Port Authority. His port has ambitious expansion scheduled, which of course triggered the question of how Pireaus looks at the many ports projects in Turkey in the same Mediterranean area.
With the two following speakers the agenda stayed in the Mediterranean: Yiannakis Kokkinos explained how the Port Authority of Cyprus of which he is the General Manager, tries to counter the heavy competition and divert to the transshipment business. He stressed the fact that with 270 ports in the Mediterranean, the sector is suffering from overcapacity.
Rafael Sapiña Garcίa took us to the Western side of the Mediterranean and a success story actually. Mr Sapiña is Director of Shipping Lines and Port Operators with ValenciaPort Foundation and he revealed insights into the green port initiatives that Valencia Port was and is involved in: ClimePort Project and GreenCranes Project. For several equipment and crane manufacturers present in the room, it was interesting to hear how they will be playing more important roles in turning ports green.
The last sessions of the day were presented by Ilia Tsivadze, Marketing Manager, Batumi SeaPort, Francesco Ghio, Area Manager, Port of Livorno and Rumen Arabadzhiev, Director, Territorial Directorate – Varna, Bulgarian Ports Infrastructure Company.
Mr. Ghio pointed out how harsh competition from neighboring ports is making them look at alternatives such as improved intermodal access, and cooperation with logistics centers inland; Mr. Arabadzhiev talked about Varna and Burgas port projects and what their expansion plans stand for; he showed for instance the plans of `Super Burgas`.
Noppen would like to express our gratitude for all Port Expansion Summit attendees and a special thanks to Speakers, Sponsors, and Media, whose involvement and presence undoubtedly contributed to the overall success of this meaningful event.