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IAPH/IPA webinar highlights digitalisation, risk management & a focused approach to sustainable transition as key issues for South Asian ports

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In an IHS Markit Regional Webinar organised on January 28, 2021 by the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) and the Indian Ports Association (IPA) for South Asia, an expert panel examined key issues facing South Asian ports, with further input from the Port of Antwerp on approaching sustainable transition in applying the UN Sustainable Development Goals in practice.

Mr A. Janardhana Rao, Managing Director, Indian Ports Association, introduced the webinar alongside IAPH Vice-President, SW East Asia and Middle East, Mr Masaharu Shinohara. Mr Rao commented on the long collaboration between IAPH and IPA as Associate Member.

Mr Sudhir Kanvinde, Executive Director (IT), Indian Ports Association, gave a broad overview of digitalisation in ports in South Asia, emphasising the importance of integrating Port Community Systems as “every port needs to ensure it can be efficient and cost-effective” and highlighted the potential of the National Logistics Portal (NLP Marine) in achieving an integrated approach towards attaining those objectives.

Mr Upul Jayatissa, Additional Managing Director, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, gave an insightful overview of how his organisation dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic from a risk and resilience perspective. Deploying 14-day shifts with comprehensive testing as well as recruiting former colleagues, repatriated port workers from other countries and deploying temporary staff ensured continued operations during the various waves, with the Authority also publishing a “Healthcare Strategic Framework” guidance document containing standard operating procedures to follow during the pandemic.

Ms Claudia Mariconda, Head of Sustainable Transition, Port of Antwerp, explained the strategic approach the port is taking towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on a selection with the ambition to achieve high levels of performance where the goals were most relevant, and also selectively partnering with key stakeholders on a project-based approach towards accomplishing objectives in practice. She cited the recent example of the study published by the Hydrogen Import Coalition (of which Port of Antwerp is member) on the viability of the import of renewable energy.

Dr Patrick Verhoeven, Managing Director, IAPH, commented : “This third regional webinar has already demonstrated a commonality in the challenges being faced by different ports in different parts of the world, namely the priority in enhancing risk and resilience to face current and future crises, the need to accelerate digitalisation at the ship-shore interface to improve safety and efficiency throughout the maritime supply chain, and the very necessary focus on energy transition by ports in order to decarbonise to meet IMO targets and ambitions. IAPH’s focus is on these three areas and we encourage South Asian ports to join us to pool resources.”

Further, IAPH regional webinars are planned for West and Central Africa as well as Central and South America, which are organised together with the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa as well as the Secretariat of the Inter-American Committee on Ports (S/CIP), respectively.

The IAPH West and Central Africa Regional Webinar is on 4th February and the IAPH Central and South American Regional Webinar on 11th February, informed a release.

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