Press Release

ESPO Conference 2017 – 1 and 2 June Barcelona – Registrations open

01 March 2017

Ports in a changing climate, a changing world

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) is inviting its members, policy makers and stakeholders to join the 14th edition of its annual conference, which is being organised in co-operation with the Port of Barcelona, Europe's benchmark port in the Euro-Mediterranean area.

As from today, participants can register online at 

Is the climate for European ports changing? This is the central theme of the 2017 Annual Conference.

2016 was the hottest year on record, after 2015 and 2014 before that. Limiting the increase of global temperature well below 2°C and tackling climate change is probably one of the greatest challenges of human history. Also for ports.

As essential part of the logistic chain, main gates to the world, nodes of energy and industry clusters, European ports must contribute to the global, European and national Climate and decarbonisation Agenda. Moreover, ports are literally on the first row when sea levels are rising and coasts are hit by heavy storms.

How to become a low-carbon or even zero-carbon port? How much time do we need for the energy transition? Are European ports and their infrastructure prepared for the storm? Will ports be part of the solution to the climate issue? What is the responsibility of the port authority? How can port authorities promote and facilitate the engagement of their different stakeholders? How far can a port authority go in enforcing low-carbon engagement?

The world is entering a new era. Disruption seems to become the buzzword of 2017. The questioning of globalisation, upcoming protectionism and geopolitical developments risk to radically change trade patterns and curtail cargo flows and thus be a game changer for ports in Europe. How to look at this upcoming economic nationalism at a time where the shipping lines, logistic operators and terminal operators are increasingly joining forces and setting up alliances.

How disruptive can new trade barriers be for ports? Is the business model of European ports changing? Is the role of the port authority changing? Should ports follow the example of their customers and join forces?

These are the themes and the questions that will be tackled during this two-day conference gathering different high-level experts and inspiring speakers, who will set the scene for lively debates with different port authorities and EU policy makers.

As always different networking and social events allow participants to continue the discussions while enjoying the local cuisine and cultural environment.  And is there a better place to do so than wonderful Barcelona?  The ESPO conference will take place in the World Trade Center, nicely located at the seafront and within a stone’s throw from the Ramblas.

So block your agenda, reserve your flight and register now for the ESPO Conference 2017!

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