What We Saw At The Black Sea Ports & Shipping Conference 2021

Our Report Of Transport Events’ Black Sea Ports & Shipping Conference In Istanbul, Turkey.
July 13, 2021
July 13, 2021

Black Sea Ports & Shipping Conference

On July 5-8 2021, an Adrianople Group Representative was present for Transport Events’ yearly Black Sea Ports & Shipping Conference, this time held in Turkey. The event featured 25 exibitors with 12 booths, as well as a conference space for talks on many subjects related to ports & shipping, going as broad as global trade routes and the state of ports operations to talks about specific machinery parts used on cranes.

The first day of the conference included a technical visit to Yilport’s Gemport located in the Marmara Sea. After a presentation of the port, the attendants received a tour of the facilities, visiting everything from the different terminals to the bonded and unbonded warehouses.

Figure 1: The technical site visit participants at Gemport

Presenters at both the exhibition and conference were varied, including port operators and authorities, shippers and freighters, software and telecoms companies, various companies in the logistics sector as well as companies producing the hardware and machinery required to run a port – motors, spreaders, cranes, brakes, etc. The Adrianople Group’s primary interest was in the port operators, authorities and chambers of commerce, given their relations with their country’s Free and Special Economic Zones.

Geographically, the overwhelming majority of participants were from Turkey itself, although small delegations from other countries with investments, clients or interest in Turkey and the Black Sea could be found – this includes presenters from Poland, Germany, Spain, Azerbaijan and Qatar, for example. Some presenters from other countries such as Malaysia, Malta, Italy and Croatia were not able to attend the conference physically, so their pre-recorded presentations were played.

Key port operators and authorities in the conference included Yilport – Turkey, Marport – Turkey, Port Gdansk - Poland, Port de Barcelona – Spain, Qterminals – Qatar, as well as a representative from the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Attendants were well-informed on the industry’s latest developments such as the shortage of containers, and there was a general understanding of Turkey’s strategic importance for ports and shipping due to the country being an integral part of the trade routes across the Caspian, Black and Mediterranean seas. Turkey’s role as a large and growing trade partner of many presenting countries was also mentioned multiple times. 

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Figure 2: The conference taking place on the 6th and 7th.

There were a number of exciting presentations of worldwide Geoeconomic importance. Sławomir Michalewski of Port Gdansk announced their plans for the creation of a Baltic-Black Sea transport corridor by building direct railway connections from Gdansk to Odessa – also establishing a faster connection from China to the Baltics through the transcaspian international transport route, becoming part of the new Silk Road and China’s wider Belt & Road initiative. The Port is already in cooperation with Polish railway companies as well as Ukrainian stakeholders to develop this route.

Nadeem Mian of Qatar’s QTerminals, a company who recently acquired the port of Akdeniz in Antalya - Turkey, presented an overview of supply chain developments in the Black Sea region, which included an analysis of eight trends in the maritime industry.

Lluís París, from Port de Barcelona also delivered a very interesting presentation on Smart Ports, its main technological verticals and how improving ports to become Smart Ports can help achieve multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals, a topic that is relevant as more Free & Special Economic Zones seek to join that mission. A number of other presenters also spoke about various aspects of port digitalization.

Paul van Eulem from MTBS’ presentation on ‘why to invest in Black Sea Ports now’ included insightful slides about best practices in port concessions and PPPs, going over successful and failed port PPPs in Georgia, Ukraine and Croatia.

In sum, this was a very interesting conference for professionals in the maritime industry with prospects in Turkey, the Black Sea and shipping lanes going through the region, but also for those looking for the latest developments, trends and technological innovations in ports, shipping and maritime transportation overall. The Adrianople Group is glad to have attended the conference and will consider reporting on other Transport Events conferences in the future.