In the evening of 24 September, close to 40 members and guests gathered on the seaside in Saint-Nazaire for the ECG Maritime & Ports Working Group (M&P WG) which commenced with an informal walking dinner kindly offered by host Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port. Prior to that around half of the attendants had already joined the optional site visit to the AIRBUS plant nearby, where they were treated to a much-appreciated presentation of the challenges of their oversized logistics operations and a guided tour of the facilities.
The next morning, participants travelled to the port where the host welcomed them and delivered a detailed overview of their assets, activities and investment plans. Before proceeding to the formal meeting, there was an additional guest presentation by the industrial cluster iD4CAR which provided insights into current and upcoming innovation projects with a particular focus on what this regional organisation wishes to pursue together with ports and the logistics sector.
Following these local views, the meeting commenced with feedback by Tony Dent from the Bristol Port Company on how the AIAG Port Quality Assessment Tool inspired them to develop an inhouse tool that bundles all reporting requirements by different customers and stakeholders. Seeing a new ECG Board was elected during last May’s General Assembly, Bjorn Svenningsen (UECC and new ECG Vice-President) used his first meeting back in the seat as M&P WG Chairman to lay out his vision for a collaborative atmosphere within the Group where the members share their challenges and best practices to the benefit of all (of which the preceding presentation by Bristol was a great example).
A productive discussion among the participants ensued, and suggestions were made on which current projects should be continued as well as for new focus areas that should be further pursued. Particular attention was paid to the looming 0.5% Global Sulphur Cap which will come into effect on 1 January 2020, and is considered a game changer to the maritime sector as any of the chosen compliance methods will inevitably lead to considerable cost increases. ECG is updating its current June 2014 Briefing Report on this important development, which will be launched during next month’s Annual Conference (see below).
It was also agreed that ECG should renew its membership in the two EU Expert Groups where it has been active in over the past years, namely the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF) and the European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF) – the latter playing an important role in guiding the sector to adapt to current challenges such as the 0.5% Global Sulphur Cap.
As is customary, upcoming ECG activities were highlighted such as the Annual Conference on 25-26 October in Mainz, the next course of the ECG Academy which will kick off during the week of the conference, as well as the brand-new executive training programmes on Negotiation Management and Compliance with EU Competition Law.
All participants then joined a guided bus tour of the Port of Nantes Saint-Nazaire, followed by a walking lunch where the host was again extensively thanked for their excellent organisation and unrivalled hospitality. The next M&P WG meeting will take place at the Port of Gothenburg upon kind invitation by Logent Ports & Terminals, one of ECG’s most recent members, on 27-28 November. Members of the M&P WG will soon be contacted with additional details, for more information on this and other future meetings of the group please contact Tom Antonissen.