More than 450 seaport executives and industry partners from the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean gathered November 9-13 for the 103rd American Association of Port Authorities’ Annual Convention. The Port of Houston Authority hosted this year’s convention, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of that port’s shipping channel.
For five days, attendees took part in a thought-provoking business program, which featured presenters from ports, the private sector and government agencies who discussed topics related to seaport and supply chain logistics in the new global economic era. Keynote speakers included Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa of the Mexican General Coordination of Ports & Merchant Marine, who on Tuesday presented an invaluable perspective of ports in Mexico, and Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, who on Wednesday addressed the convention and called ports the “lifeblood of the U.S. economy.”
In the convention’s Exhibit Hall, more than 65 maritime industry companies presented a broad range of products and services that offered security, technology and other solutions for seaports. Attendees were given time Tuesday and Wednesday to network with these companies and see what they had to offer.
Attendees also had a chance to experience a bit of the city of Houston’s hospitality with exceptional evening receptions Monday and Tuesday at the Houston Aquarium and the Julie Ideson Library. On Wednesday, 2015 Annual Convention host PortMiami sponsored a South Beach-style reception to get attendees excited for next year’s convention, which will take place October 11-14, 2015. Then on Thursday evening, attendees donned their best “Texas chic” for the Chairman’s Reception and Denim & Dazzle Gala at the Hyatt Regency Houston.
The convention concluded with a members-only annual meeting and the election of the officers and directors for the association’s upcoming year, including the installation of AAPA’s 2015 Chairwoman of the Board Kristen Decas, CEO and port director of the Port of Hueneme.
To view more photos from the AAPA Annual Convention, and to find out about the 2015 Annual Convention, including sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, visit www.aapa-ports.org.
U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN OFFERS SUPPORT OF PORTS IN CONVENTION KEYNOTE
Vice President of the United States Joe Biden addressed the AAPA Annual Convention on Wednesday, November 12, telling seaport executives and industry leaders in the audience that ports are “the lifeblood of the U.S. economy.”
In a speech that focused on the need for infrastructure investment, he told convention attendees that improving the country’s ports will lead to economic growth and boost middle-class jobs.
However, he asked, “How can we have a 21st century economy with 20th century infrastructure? How can we sustain the opportunity for growth we have with a modicum of investment?
Biden noted the $48 billion in public works investment from the administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but he said, “There is still so much more work to be done.”
The vice president said the federal government should be a catalyst for new transportation investment, citing TIGER grants as an important financing resource for ports.
He also commended the work of AAPA and the U.S. Maritime Administration in creating the port planning and investment toolkit, available on the AAPA website (www.aapa-ports.org).
“The bottom line is the greatest economic power in the world needs the most dynamic port system in the world,” he said.