Opening the afternoon’s session for Coastlink, Patrick Verhoeven, Managing Director for the International Association of Ports and Harbors focussed on sustainability and what he views as the biggest challenge for shipping – the energy transition.


Moving on to the presentations for session 2 which focussed on ‘Building Connectivity and Networks for the future – linking short sea shipping to intermodal transport routes’, Dr Iven Kraemer at the Minister for Science & Ports – Bremen, discussed the benefits of extensive rail connections in the last mile port and connections to the hinterland. With 50% container trains at the port, Iven confirmed that Bremen are moving forward with more electrification at the port.

Looking at the evolution of Peel Ports, Stephen Carr - Group Commercial Director, discussed the key changes following Brexit including the shift from accompanied to unaccompanied freight. The impact of this being the need for a greater land base, to store goods in transit. Stephen also highlighted how the Port of Liverpool are enabling port centric warehousing noting the change in the way supply chains are working, cutting out legs of the journey by storing goods within 1 mile in the port.

Moving onto the panel discussion Coastlink heard from Jan Cuyt at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Gregory Brion at Conti-Lines Group, Joost Hintjens from the University of of Antwerp as well as Ron Buitelaar of Cofano Software Solutions. Discussing the importance of connecting all parts of the supply chain from manufacturing to warehousing, short sea and port operations, digital connections with software solutions to build visibility to the end destination - all driven with a strong debate on the need for data sharing and the challenges businesses face in this area. Understanding the benefits to the bundling of operations across the TEN-T ports to maximise loads and create cost efficiencies – with the case study of the North Sea Port – was also addressed.

A full packed programme for Day 1 with lots of networking and discussions held at the event. There was strong, positive feedback that delegates were glad to be back in person and to have the opportunity to pick up on the discussions that help drive business forward.