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Leveraging diversity to propel sector innovations and key issues facing African ports: two Webinar themes in March

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Leveraging diversity to propel sector innovations and key issues facing African ports: two Webinar themes in March

IAPH/IHS Markit to host President of WISTA International Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou in 18 March webinar on diversity; IAPH Regional VP Hadiza Bala Uzman to lead virtual gathering of African ports on 25 March with PMAWCA Chair Michael Luguje

The IAPH 2021 World Ports Conference agenda was announced last week. The theme of #IAPH2021 will be “Changing of the Guard”, combining live, scheduled and recorded C-level keynotes, debates, demonstrations and one-on-one interviews with the players shaping the new, complex environment in which ports operate.

Diversity – sourcing a force to innovate

As a build up to the event, three IHS Markit Webinars touching three of #IAPH2021’s themes will take place between now and 21 June. The first of these is entitled Can Ports Leverage Diversity to Propel Innovation? with President of WISTA International Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou joining IAPH’s new Chair of the Women’s Forum Flor Pitty, DP World’s People Director for Europe and Russia Bhavini Bikabhai and Allyens’ Managing Partner Taha Riani to debate whether recent imaginative senior appointments seen more recently at some port authorities marks the end of the beginning of a real change in port management diversity.

In a recent poll published in the March-April edition of IAPH’s flagship membership magazine Ports and Harbors, 65% of the readership responding to the diversity survey favoured introducing quotas on port management teams. An in-depth survey of the maritime industry conducted by the Diversity Study Group (DSG) in 2021 cited by its founder and CEO of Halycon Heidi Heseltine quoted the following figures in the same magazine: 61% of the survey population is male, 37% female. Males account for 82% of director level or heads of department roles, females 17%. All roles from the top level down to team leader and senior manager are dominated by males at around 70%. In regard to ethnic backgrounds, she found that 46% of the DSG survey population is white, 37% Asian, 7% Hispanic/Latino, and 1% is black. About 83% of C-suite roles are held by white males and 66% of director level or head of department roles are also held by white males.

Ports & Harbors magazine’s editor Ines Nastali, who will moderate the panel, surmised in her editorial comment: “With the current age and gender profile, maritime risks that the human element becomes obsolete. This is not due to the threat from autonomous technology, seen as a sword of Damocles poised to steal jobs, but choices to exclude talent despite warnings of staff shortages.”

Hadiza Bala Usman – Nigerian Ports Authority Managing Director and IAPH Regional VP for Africa

Will the 21st Century be the making of Africa?

One example, and probably the port industry’s most imaginative senior appointment of a woman in recent times comes from Africa, with Hadiza Bala Usman heading the port authority of the continent’s biggest GDP economy – Nigeria. She is also IAPH’s Regional Vice President for Africa and will introduce on March 25- alongside PMAWCA’s Michael Luguje – a Webinar covering sustainable port developments in West and Central Africa. With the emergence of African megahubs such as Tanger-Med, Lome and Port Said handling ever-increasing ship sizes and volumes, the webinar will examine the implications for other African ports. The session will also cover how to bridge the gap between highly sophisticated ports developed in Africa in the last decade and limited hinterland connectivity, especially to Africa’s 16 landlocked countries. Accelerating digitalization in local port communities will also feature. The recent IAPH survey on electronic data interchange adoption by ports including the IMO FAL requirement indicated that 55% of African ports responding were either still developing ship-shore EDI systems or had yet to start.

Webinar moderator and IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven commented : “Such is the potential for Africa’s revitalised ports sector to unleash the continent’s true potential, that we decided to dedicate a stream of the upcoming #IAPH2021 World Port Conference to “The Century of Africa”. IAPH intends to place Africa’s ports on the world stage in June. An advantage of the new normal is our African colleagues will be able to visit us virtually in Antwerp in June and actively participate in our committees and conference, irrespective of pandemic restrictions.”

News story contact : Victor Shieh – IAPH Communications Director , Email: victor.shieh@iaphworldports.org, Tel : + 32 473 980 855

To take part in the IAPH – IHS Markit webinar “Can Ports Leverage Diversity to Propel Innovation?”, register here

To take part in the IAPH-PMAWCA Regional Africa Meeting, join here at 11hrs00 CET on 25 March

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