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BPA Conference 2023 delegates and speakers

BPA Conference 2023

The 2023 British Ports Association (BPA) Conference was hosted by the Port of London Authority, in partnership with DP World and Gallagher

The conference ran from 17-19 October 2023 and had over 45 speakers across a two day programme.

The BPA annual conference is one of the most prestigious events in the UK maritime industry and provides a unique collaborative space for stakeholders to come together to hear about the latest policy developments and industry trends within the UK ports and harbours sector.

Robin Mortimer Chief Executive Officer at BPA 2023 Conference speaking

Day 1 of the British Ports Association 2023 Conference

The day started with a warm welcome to London. Mike Sellers, Chair of the British Ports Association, and Robin Mortimer, Chief Executive of the PLA, shared perspectives on the opportunities within the UK ports sector. Their insights set the tone for thought-provoking panels to follow.

It was an honour to have Baroness Vere, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Aviation, Maritime and Security), as a keynote speaker. With an impressive track record in government and a commitment to the maritime sector, her contributions were enlightening.

Our first panel explored the state of the UK's ports industry, with a focus on its significant economic impact. Key figures such as Doug Bannister, Port of Dover; Peter Sand, Xeneta; and Graeme Leach, Macronomics, shared insights on growth, Brexit and the sector's evolving landscape.

The Ports Policy Update session, chaired by Steven Clapperton, PLA Director of Marine Operations, featured discussions with experts including Virginia McVea, Maritime and Coastguard Agency; Gus Wiseman, Department for Business and Trade; Nick Gosling, Transport Scotland; Chris Shirling-Rooke, Maritime UK; and Mike Alcock, Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom. They shed light on policy developments shaping the industry's future.

The People in Ports Showcase, hosted by Nicola Good, Lloyd's Register, highlighted the opportunities and challenges in growing the UK's maritime workforce. Panellists Charmain Browning, DP World; Angela Ward, Port Skills and Safety; Alexandra Lawson, Royal Museums Greenwich; and Nikki Sayer (Cobb) FICS, CASPER CUSTOMS discussed talent attraction, diversity, and mental health within the industry.

Towards Sustainable Port Development, moderated by Grace Rawnsley, PLA Director of Sustainability, featured insights from Dr. Matthew Frost, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML); Vicki Beatty, Port of Dover; Jennifer Godwin, The Seabed User & Developer Group (SUDG); and Jon Lane, RightShip. They explored the industry's journey toward sustainability and the need for coordinated efforts in the face of environmental challenges.

The day also featured an array of companies showcasing cutting-edge technology, sustainable practices, logistical solutions and professional services that can bolster efficiency in the industry.

Baroness Vere Maritime Minister on stage for opening address BPA 2023

Baroness Vere, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Aviation, Maritime and Security) keynote speaker.

Robin Mortimer Chief Executive Officer at BPA 2023 Conference speaking

Robin Mortimer, Port of London Authority's Chief Executive.

Mike Sellers BPA Chair speaking at BPA Conference 2023

Mike Sellers, British Ports Association Chair.

Business Snapshot Overview Panel discussion BPA Conference 2023

Business Snapshot/Overview panel.

Ports Policy Update Panel at BPA 2023 Conference 5 panellists on stage

Ports Policy Update panel.

PLA and Rightship Insight Hub Session BPA 2023 5 people standing in front of screen

PLA and RightShip's Insight Hub session on digital tools to measure and manage emissions.

People in Ports Showcase Attracting Talent, Diversity & Mental Health Panel at BPA 2023

People in Ports Showcase: Attracting Talent, Diversity & Mental Health panel.

Towards Sustainable Port Development panel at BPA conference 2023

Towards Sustainable Port Development panel.

BPA 2023 Conference Exhibitors and people talking on day 1

Conference exhibitors.

Day 2 of the British Ports Association 2023 Conference

The day's first panel Commercialising Ports: New Business Opportunities explored different approaches and models for ports. The panel included Matt Beeton, Port of Tyne; Andrew Crowe, PD Ports; Tom Willis, Shoreham Port; Pamela Neri MBA, Fraserburgh Harbour and Roddy James, Port of Aberdeen. It was chaired by Richard Ballantyne OBE, BPA.

The second session at BPA 2023 was chaired by Richard Allan on the topic of the Fuels Transition. In this session we heard from: Simon Bullock, The University of Manchester; Edwin Pang, Arcsilea Ltd; Undīne Belle Sierina, Port of Aberdeen.

Our third panel explored the interplay of AI and automation with port safety and how they are reshaping maritime operations. The session was chaired by Debbie Cavaldoro, Port Skills and Safety, and the panellists were: Mike Yarwood, TT Club; Eddie Scoggins, Felixstowe; Stuart Wallace, Forth Ports Limited; Chris Hatter. LLM, FICS, Portsmouth International Port; Dr. Douglas Leith, stc insiso spoke.

The day's fourth panel Ports Development Showcase delved into the issues associated with building new infrastructure and the hurdles involved. Chaired by Robbie Owen, Pinsent Masons, the conference heard from Andrew Bowen, DP World; Peter Ward, Port of Tilbury London; Ana Ulanovsky, Arup.

The final conference session looked at the experience of international ports. This session was chaired by James Baker, Lloyd's List; Patrick Verhoeven, International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH); Mike Gallacher, Ports Australia; Isabelle Ryckbost from EPSO spoke.

Lord Deben concluded the formal part of the conference with his keynote on climate change and adaptation.

Richard Ballantyne and Commercialising Ports New Business Opportunities panel at BPA 2023

Richard Ballantyne, BPA Chief Executive, and the Commercialising Ports New Business Opportunities panel.

People speaking on the Fuels Transition panel at BPA 2023

The Fuels Transition panel.

Chair and panellists AI and Automation for Port Safety at BPA 2023

AI and Automation for Port Safety panel.

Port Development Showcase panel at BPA 2023

Port Development Showcase panel.

International Ports Panel at BPA Conference with someone on the screen

International Ports Panel – Opportunities, Challenges and Black Swans.

Lord Deben speaking at 2023 BPA Conference

Lord Deben, Chair of the Climate Change Committee, Keynote on Climate Change & Adaptation.

BPA Conference 2023

A tour of the River Thames aboard Uber Boat by Thames Clippers' Earth Clipper marked the end of BPA 2023. Attendees were briefed on infrastructure projects supporting Thames Vision 2050, our strategy for creating the UK’s leading port, central to the nation’s economy, with Net Zero emissions.

Right at the start of the conference, Baroness Charlotte Vere encouraged us to develop our ports, creating thriving local communities, enriching our nations and ushering in a new golden age for our sector. She challenged us to play a key role in levelling up since ports are a natural hub for growth. She reinforced the need for engagement with government on national ports policy and regulation.

Over the three days delegates heard from colleagues, who underlined the "commonality of interest", as John Gummer, Rt Hon The Lord Deben called it. Up and down the UK, the maritime industry is encountering the same set of challenges: sustainability, decarbonisation, the energy transition, financing development, government understanding of the unique and crucial role our industry plays in the economic life of our nation.

Connecting with a new generation of maritime professionals through effective story-telling and upskilling our industry's workforce means we will have to harness the power of technological change. At the same time, we will need to help spur innovation in new fuels through facilitation of investment and incentive schemes. As Lord Deben said, we need ensure that there are opportunities for shipping to pollute less.

We heard from colleagues representing small and large ports who are striving to adapt to climate change and grasp opportunities arising from the transition. Speakers repeatedly emphasised the need for collaboration among ports, government and business. As Lord Deben reminded the delegates during his keynote -- it's not just your port, it's the ports in your nation, that have to work together for the changes that are required.

Crucially, all of the panels, the sidebars, the conversations among sponsors, exhibitors, delegates, all of the presentations outlined that we as an industry have the ability, the knowledge and most importantly the willingness to lead the UK to a brighter future.

BPA Conference 2023 Delegates on a river trip with the Thames Barrier in the background

BPA Conference 2023 delegates on a tour of the River Thames aboard Uber Boat by Thames Clippers' Earth Clipper.

BPA Conference 2023 Wide room shot

BPA Conference 2023.

Richard Ballantyne BPA Chief Executive speaking at BPA Conference 2023

Richard Ballantyne, British Ports Association Chief Executive.

PLA's Steven Clapperton speaking at BPA Conference 2023

Steven Clapperton, PLA's Director of Marine Operations.

Mike Gallacher and Patrick Verhoeven speaking on a panel at BPA 2023

Mike Gallacher and Patrick Verhoeven on the International Ports panel.

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