On 6-7 September, 2018, policymakers, industry experts and various other stakeholders will meet in Szczecin, Poland, to take part in the annual Baltic Ports Conference. The event is a key item on Baltic Ports Organization’s agenda and has long served as a platform for exchanging knowledge and experience between the members of the European and Baltic maritime community.
This year’s edition of the Baltic Ports Conference will tackle multiple issues currently relevant to the maritime sector in the Europe and the Baltic region. From a thorough market overview and its impact on maritime transport, through the examination of various financial instruments supporting the development of port infrastructure to the role of ports as energy hubs.
The event will kick off with a session dedicated to economy and trade in Central Europe and the Baltic region. An overview of the current state of the market, along an analysis of its impact on the European maritime transport sector, will be delivered by Peter Heyman Andersen of Ramboll. His speech will be followed by a closer look at Brexit and its aftermath and all that it entails for the European port sector. The analysis will be presented by Mark Simmonds, representing the British Ports Association.
Economy will remain one of the topics after the coffee break, especially as seen the point of view of port investments and how they correlate with the state of economy in the region. Considering this year’s location chosen for the conference, the impact of a country’s economical and industrial development on the port sector will be further examined with Poland as an example. An experts’ panel, including representatives from BCT Gdynia, DCT Gdańsk, as well as the Ports of Szczecin-Świnoujście, Tallinn and the Port Authority of Centre-North Tyrrhenian Sea will round-up the session.
The day’s last session will cover one of the key topics for the transport sector in Europe – the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) II proposal for the period of 2021 – 2027. The EU budget for the upcoming period and the surrounding discussion is of great importance for many ports, as it presents an opportunity to start many projects essential to their continuous development. Other financing instruments will also be featured, with Mark Clintworth of the European Investment Bank exploring incentives for small scale port development. Representatives of the European Commission, ESPO, the Finnish Ports Association and the Ports of Turku, Trelleborg, Rostock and Riga will offer their insights before the end of the first day of the conference.
After an exciting networking dinner, filled with live music and other attractions, the delegates will once again assemble in the conference hall at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Szczecin, for the second day of speeches and discussions. During the first session, the speaker will explore the idea of a port as a modern age energy hub and how it can act as a gate to the regional and global energy market. Additionally, the audience will be presented with an overview of financing opportunities available to ports for financing energy-based infrastructure projects.
Energy will remain at the center of attention during the day’s second session, in particular its supply as an incentive for new investments in the ports. Energy transition is an important topic these days, not just for the maritime sector. We will try to find out how ports should approach the transition, especially considering EU’s energy policy. The session will end with a practical example, with Paweł Jakubowski of Polskie LNG explaining the LNG terminal in Świnoujście can become a door to the CEE gas market.
The conference will conclude with a study tour to the LNG terminal in Świnoujście, offering a unique view into its inner workings.