Maritime Industry Gathers in Tampa for Shifting Trade Routes Seminar

Tampa Port Director A. Paul Anderson speaks to the audience at the Shifting International Trade Routes Conference on Jan. 24 as AAPA President Kurt Nagle and Chairman Armando Duarte look on.

Tampa Port Director A. Paul Anderson speaks to the audience at the Shifting International Trade Routes Conference on Jan. 24 as AAPA President Kurt Nagle and Chairman Armando Duarte look on.

The education program brought more than 150 port and maritime decision-makers together in Tampa this past January

By Sarah Sain

More than 150 port and maritime industry decision-makers gathered January 24-25 in Tampa, Fla., for the American Association of Port Authorities and U.S. Maritime Administration’s Shifting International Trade Routes Seminar.

The day-and-a-half educational program, hosted by the Tampa Port Authority, addressed how the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal will affect trade patterns and infrastructure needs across the Western Hemisphere.

On Thursday, Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of AAPA, Chairman of the Board Armando Duarte-Palaez and Paul Anderson, port director and CEO at the Port of Tampa, greeted attendees, many of who were grateful to enjoy a few days in the Florida sun.

“This is the greatest industry,” Anderson praised. “It’s global. It’s fast-paced. It’s critical to every country around the world, but most of all it’s the people.”

Education session kicked off with an “International Economic Outlook” from Moffatt & Nichol Chief Economist Walter Kemmsies, who offered a survivor’s guide for the transportation industry. He offered near, mid and long-term predictions for the world economy, noting that the U.S. need freight movement and infrastructure investment to avoid stagflation in the months and years to come.

Next, Rodolfo Sabonge, vice president of market research and analysis for the Panama Canal Authority, presented an update on the canal’s expansion and discussed how the improvements will lead to more competition and efficiency.

After a short break, attendees heard from John Martin, president of Martin Associates, during a session titled “The Impact of Transshipment on Shipping Patterns.” He discussed how trade routes are evolving with growth in distribution centers in the Gulf and Southeastern U.S., as well as the shift on the supply side away from China to other South East Asia countries.

Following lunch, two panels featured the perspectives of ocean carriers and port and marine terminal operators on trade patterns, infrastructure needs and the demand for growth. Three keywords highlighted the sessions: responsibility, sustainability and flexibility.

The day closed with a poolside reception hosted by the Tampa Port Authority and Ports America.

The education continued Friday. First up was Blaine Kelley with CBRE Global Supply Chain Practice, who talked about how ports need to expand to compete in a post-Panamax world. He reiterated that ports need to pay attention to three factors when looking at a growth: transportation infrastructure, availability of skilled labor and rent prices.

Next, Juan Flores with the Florida Department of Transportation and Kyle Hancock, vice president of industrial and agricultural products for CSX, discussed policies and plans for expanding highway and rail in the Sunshine State and the rest of the country, particularly the population-heavy East Coast.

In the final session, Richard Sharpe, CEO of Competitive Insights, introduced Big Data and the need for ports to re-evaluate their strategies and structures on a monthly basis in an ever-changing world.

“I think what we’ve seen through the last two days is various modes of transportation and industry partners making significant investments in moving forward to the future,” Nagle said in closing.

After six years in Tampa, the Shifting International Trade Routes seminar will be hosted in Panama in 2014, a can’t-miss opportunity to see the expansion of the canal first-hand.

Upcoming 2013 AAPA Events

AAPA Spring Conference: March 18-19 – Washington, D.C.

Port Administration and Legal Issues Seminar: April 9-11 – Boston, Mass.

Cruise Seminar: April 24-26 – San Francisco, Calif.

Port Technology Seminar: May 14-16 – Jacksonville, Fla.

Read this article now in AAPA Seaports Magazine’s new interactive digital edition.