Port authorities around the world have a major role in supporting sustainable economic growth and delivering a greener future, according to experts and executives.



Meeting in Abu Dhabi for the annual 7th Edition of Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR 2022) from May 31 to June 2, were port authorities from territories as diverse as Antwerp, Barcelona, Busan, Guangzhou, Iraq, Kobe, Oman, Rotterdam, Saudi Arabia, Seattle, Singapore and Shanghai to discuss the theme, ‘Reimagining a New Era of Trade Together.’



Among the key topics examined in the closed-door event were ports’ efforts to build a robust infrastructure to mitigate the impact of climate change and rising sea levels, as well as new initiatives to boost efficiency and reduce environmental impact. Connectivity, digitalisation, and sustainability were key topics under discussion at the event.



Greater collaboration

In his inaugural address, Eng Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, praised the work of ports in tackling key issues, and encouraged greater collaboration across the sector.



He said: “The UAE is committed to supporting global trade and development, at the same time as building a sustainable future for all. We have invested in world-class port facilities in pursuit of this goal, and we are encouraged by this opportunity to share knowledge and learning with peers from around the world.”



Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of AD Ports Group, said: “A major part of the UAE’s contribution to the development of key industries is our investment in knowledge-sharing and new thinking, which makes Abu Dhabi the ideal host venue for the 7th Edition of Port Authorities Roundtable. Under the guidance of our leaders, AD Ports Group is developing new trade corridors and building stronger supply chains, and the best practices shared at these sessions will make a strong contribution to those efforts.”



Backbone of trade

Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO, AD Ports Group said: “The shipping and maritime industry is the backbone of international trade and the global economy. The exceptional challenges of recent years have not only demonstrated the crucial role that maritime trade plays in supporting economic recovery but have also demonstrated the wider social and environmental impact of our work.”



“We are honoured to host the leaders of the global ports community here in Abu Dhabi to exchange industry best practices and build mutually beneficial partnerships. We believe we are entering an exciting new era for the maritime sector, providing we can all rise to the challenges.”



The event saw opening addresses from Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO, AD Ports Group, Quah Ley Hoon, CEO, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Omar Talal Hariri, President, Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani).



Disruption and digitalisation

Sessions at the Port Authorities Roundtable focused on the broad sub-themes of Disruption, Digitalisation, Decarbonisation, and Diversification, with specialist presentations and in-depth discussions with international experts.



As part of the Disruption theme, a panel of experts examined the role of ports in enabling global supply chain resilience and connectivity, reviewing the work done to date for risk management preparedness and the lessons learned from resolving the bottlenecks caused by Covid-19 and recent global turbulence.



Clean energy was one of the main topics within the Decarbonisation stream. Several of the ports in attendance outlined their work in developing the infrastructure required to switch from fuel oil to liquefied natural gas or even hydrogen for ships in the future, as well as carbon capture and sequestration initiatives.




According to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), shipping currently accounts for around three percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, with more than half of maritime emissions coming from ships berthed in ports, so ports and their surrounding environs could make a major contribution to global environmental goals.



In the digitalisation discussion, different ports authorities showcased how state-of-the-art digital platforms were enabling them to optimise shipping and port operations to reduce emissions and integrate energy systems.



In addition to high-level discussions, PAR 2022 also provided an opportunity for delegates to tour AD Ports Group’s world-class facilities. In addition to reviewing the integrated logistics and industrial services offered in Kizad, the tour also saw the advanced technology being deployed at Khalifa Port, which has recently been ranked in the top five of the global Container Port Performance Index developed by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence.