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TOC Connect #Americas 2021: transforming the maritime logistics industry

TOC Connect #Americas 2021: transforming the maritime logistics industry

Successful online venue focused on digitalization, ports, and sustainability
Edition of October 25, 2021

Identifying the major industry trends is key to determining the road map ahead and adapting to current and future market conditions. The COVID-19 has marked the past year and a half, and it has defined many trends that are a direct consequence of the impact of the disruption caused by coronavirus to the supply chain. That is why the TOC Connect #Americas 2021 conference focused on the big game changers that have stood out since the appearance of COVID-19 on the horizon: digital transformation & cybersecurity; automation; and inclusion, sustainability & green transition.

The topics were discussed, debated, and analyzed by experts in their respective fields, who shared their time, knowledge, and experience with other key industry players. “On behalf of TOC Events Worldwide I would like to thank our incredible speaker lineup for making the AMERICAS focused part of TOC Connect so informative. Every session has overrun due to the number of questions coming in from the many viewers and the debates have been fascinating. TOC Connect continues next week with the first ‘in person’ TOC Event for over two years, taking place in Rotterdam. Viewers will be able to watch recordings of this live content on week three - the footage will contain Spanish subtitles. Thanks again to all our customers for being part of this event and we look forward to seeing you all next October in Peru. Contact our friends and partners at MundoMaritimo for further details or assistance and please do continue to use the platform for further knowledge and networking opportunities,” said Paul Holloway, Event Director TOC Events Worldwide.

Day 1 of 4: Keynote & cybersecurity

The first day began with the keynote speech, delivered by Robbert van Trooijen, Senior Vice President, Head of Latin America and the Caribbean at A.P. Moller – Maersk, presenting a comprehensive overview of the visibility of the containerized supply chain and logistics industry. Rachael White, Content Consultant, TOC Events, later conducted the Q&A portion with the virtual audience during the first panel of the 2021 conference. 

The next panel was the session on Cyber-security guidelines - powered by the IAPH, moderated by Pascal Ollivier, Chairman of IAPH Data Collaboration Committee and part of the team of authors who put together the International Association of Ports and Harbors’ Cybersecurity Guidelines for Ports and Ports Facilities, and with presentations by experts such as Max Bobys, Vice President & Practice Leader, HudsonCyber, and Mark de Pater, Information Security & Risk Officer at Port of Rotterdam. “Leaders must recognize cyber risk management not just as part of the IT team’s job, but as part of the company’s risk allocation strategy and understand that cyber risk can actually affect operations,” stressed Bobys.

Mid-way through: Market intelligence & digitalization

Tuesday October 19 was the second day of the conference and focused on market intelligence and digitalization. In his presentation, “Dynamics of container trade in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Ricardo J. Sanchez, Regional Expert in Infrastructure and Ports United Nations - Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean (ECLAC,) talked about transshipment, throughput, trade in the Caribbean and East and West Coast of South America and the downward trends of imports due to COVID-19 in 2020 and the recovery experienced in 2021. Later, Peter Levesque, President Ports America presented on supply chain management in a post pandemic world as a ‘side effect’ of the COVID-19 pandemic. William Brown, Chairman Group D, continued in the panel by analyzing the current situation of the container shipping industry in the Caribbean, where ports report a sharp increase in container traffic, combined with freight rate increases which are expected to continue into 2022. The panel ended with the presentation by Eduardo Lugo, President & CEO Maritime & Logistics Consulting Group S.A., who centered on trends in international trade and the challenges ahead.

The second half of the day put the spotlight on digital transformation and the importance of adopting digitalization into operations. First up was Joana Álvarez Guillén, Ministerio de Comercio Exterior y Turismo MINCETUR Perú, who talked extensively about the Peruvian single window Ventanilla Única Comercio Exterior VUCE, which has been in place since 2010, and the VUCE 2.0 project. “Digitization and digitalization insights in Latam,” by Carlos Ricardo Ortiz,, was next, with a focus on the differences between digitization, digitalization and digital transformation. Jorge Barnett, Managing Director, Georgia Tech Panama Logistics Innovation & Research Center, continued with his presentation on adding value through digital transformation “Successes and challenges in Panama and Latin America,” highlighting that there is significant progress with the adoption of AI, big data, analytics, and blockchain as well as terminal automation initiatives. The panel was moderated by industry cyber expert Pascal Ollivier, and ended with the presentation by Gadi Benmoshe, Managing Director Marinnovators, “Innovation ecosystem: the catalyst for new technologies implementation,” citing the example of Israel ports’ maritime-tech innovation ecosystem.

3 out of 4: infrastructure & logistics

Johan-Paul Verschuure, Project Director, Rebel Group kicked off the third-day initial panel with his presentation titled “Volatility-induced port investments on the horizon,” which shed light on the types of port investments and who is making those investments. The case study of the port of Paracas concession expansion project was next in the presentation delivered by César Rojas, Operations Manager, Paracas Port Terminal. “Port concessions allow the reduction in the logistics infrastructure gap without investments from the government,” the Paracas port executive noted. “Infrastructure Project for STI & challenges ahead,” was the third presentation in the panel delivered by Rodrigo Galleguillos, General Manager, San Antonio Terminal Internacional, who talked about Chile’s central-most port’s public-private partnership with state-owned Empresa Portuaria San Antonio EPSA to develop infrastructure on the privately-operated terminal. Alfredo Jurado, regional general manager LatAm & Corporate Affairs, Yilport Puerto Bolívar presented “Infrastructure and privatization of state ports Latin America & Caribbean region,” highlighting how privatization boosts investment, increases productivity, and drives development and expansion. Last, but not least, Diogo Piloni, Ports & Waterways Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure Brazil, spoke on “Partnership projects in Brazilian port sector,” highlighting the critical reforms over the last 5 years that set the stage for infrastructure advancement. Moderator for the session was Gordon Wilmsmeier, Kühne Professorial Chair in Logistics, Universidad de Los Andes & Professor for shipping & global logistics, Kühne Logistics University.

The second and final panel of the day was on the challenges of transportation. “Adaptation of ports to the new maritime logistics situation: the case of Valenciaport,” by Antonio Torregrosa Maicas, Managing Director, Fundación Valenciaport, on the Spanish port’s climate change and emissions reduction plans. Ed McCarthy, COO, Georgia Ports Authority continued the panel, which was moderated by Rommel Troetsch, VP Marketing & Sales, Maritime & Logistics Group S.A., and talked about “Connecting southeast USA through the Americas.” “Foreign investor outlook into Latam port infrastructure,” by Patricio Junior, Director, Terminal Investments, TiL marked the middle of the panel highlighting the importance of appropriate infrastructure to avoid bottlenecks at ports which impact on production and distribution, affecting on ports’ competitiveness. Ibai Erdozain, ALG Principal, continued with “The role of inland logistics in port competitiveness.” “For the time being, in the Latin America & Caribbean region there are still multiple situations where there is a mismatch between the maritime side and the inland logistics side, and this causes the region to have a higher logistics cost compared to Europe and US,” noted the executive. Paul Ravenstijn, Managing Director Panama, Witteveenbos, finalized the last panel of the day with “Port city integration and connections,” focusing the cases of the Blankenburg connection to the port of Rotterdam, in The Netherlands, or the Oosterweel connection in Antwerp, Belgium, both adding a combination of highway and tunnel + green areas, showing just how important urban planning is for the integration of port and city. 

The end: Transition & transformation

The fourth and final day was all about sustainability and green transition. Steve Cameron, Managing Director, Cameron Maritime Resources, was the moderator for the initial panel of the last day of TOC Connect #Americas. Laura Chiuminatto, Deputy Manager of Sustainability, Terminal Pacífico Sur Valparaíso, was first up on the agenda, presenting the Chilean port’s sustainability policies in the presentation titled “Sustainability: the way we want to do business.” Next up on the agenda was Alexis Rodríguez, Environmental Protection Specialist, Panama Canal presenting “How supply chain actors can encourage green transition.” The third presentation of the panel was led by Erick Alarcón, Senior Manager Vessels Operations, ONE, “Shipping decarbonization: challenge and opportunities for Latin America,” and the Japanese-owned shipping line’s decarbonization actions. Antonio Domínguez, Director Caribbean Maersk, presented the Danish company’s innovative efforts for decarbonization with the 8 methanol-fueled vessels that are to come into operation in 2024 and the support to The Ocean Cleanup initiative.

Transforming port operations was the last panel, moderated by Silvia Bermúdez Cerqueiro, Manager LATAM Transportation & Logistics, Ausenco. Starting with “Automation in brownfield terminal, how to get there?,” by Lyes Chebrek, Port Expert, Port DNA, explained the scope of container terminal automation, focusing on the primary and secondary areas for container terminal automation. “Autonomous mobility ports,” presented by Aldo Ferrufino, Chief Operating Officer, AI Drivers, talked about autonomous operations in ports and enabled digital twins, which allow for data collection. Up next was Alejandro García, Digital Solutions Sales Manager, Kalmar continued with his presentation “Connectivity as key enabler to achieve sustainability, safety and productivity targets,” presenting on the challenge of data and how to optimize its use. “Transforming Terminal Operations: Leveraging AI & Optimization,” was presented Matthew Wittemeier, Senior Manager International Marketing & Customer Relations, Inform GmBH. “We are drowning in data. We are producing data at a rate and volume that is unprecedented. With so much data, we should take it and use it as the ‘oil’ that lubricates operations, and data management should be at the foundation of what we do and how we do it,” he noted.

All sessions of the TOC Connect #Americas conference will be streamed with Spanish subtitles the week of November 1-5. TOC Connect #Americas is part of a three-week hybrid event focusing on the Americas, Europe, and a comprehensive look at the global industry. For on-demand access to this exclusive content on the TOC Connect platform, please write to [email protected].

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