25 April 2016 – This year, the European port industry, its stakeholders and EU policy makers are gathering in Dublin for ESPO’s annual Conference.
The 2016 ESPO Conference will look into ways to improve the efficiency of maritime transport and ports, this from different angles.
- The first session will focus on the different barriers to the internal market for maritime transport. For instance, will the new Union Customs Code help boosting trade and is everyone in ports ready to exploit its potential benefits? Discussions at the ESPO conference will prepare the ground for 2017, the Commission’s year devoted to maritime policy.
- During the second session, participants will find out whether ports have a digital agenda and what priorities are in it. Speakers will also discuss how useful “big data” is for ports and other transport players.
- Thirdly, the conference will address game changers and possible game stoppers when it comes to easing trade. How will Chinese investments impact the EU infrastructure landscape? Will the TTIP, the upcoming US-EU trade agreement, revive the transatlantic trade lane? And what about the forthcoming UK Referendum?
Next to many experts and ports participating in these thematic sessions, EU High-Level policy makers will round up this year’s conference by giving their views on all of these issues and answering the central question: “Are European ports moving fast enough?” DG MOVE’s Director General Henrik Hololei, Mark Frequin, representing the Dutch Presidency of the Council and Pat Cox, former President of the European Parliament and TEN-T coordinator for the Scan-Med Corridor are lining up for this debate. Their views will be challenged by a set of port authorities in a subsequent debate.
One of the eye-openers of this year’s Conference though is American top-economist and influential thinker Jeremy Rifkin, who will give a keynote address on the theme of “a Third Industrial Revolution and a Zero Marginal Cost Society”.
Last but not least, we have the pleasure to welcome again MEPKnut Fleckenstein, rapporteur on the Port Regulation proposal, who might give us an insight in the ongoing negotiations: Is there a deal in the make?
Of course, ESPO conferences do not end with the last speaker of the day. Our host, the port of Dublin, is taking all delegates on Thursday evening to the Admiral’s Ball, a gala black tie evening celebrating the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s honorary Admiralty of Dublin Port and launching the Dublin Port Riverfest.
It seems that Dublin city will be the place-to-be at the beginning of June. ESPO delegates will be sharing the Irish capital with Bruce Springsteen fans, visitors of the Port Riverfest and lady marathon runners. It is therefore recommended to book your place without further delay, especially as the block bookings in the conference hotels will be coming to an at the beginning of May. So better be fast!