Major shipowners to address sector challenges

Europort 2019 will take place between 5-8 November at the Rotterdam Ahoy Centre. Image: Europort
Europort 2019
Europort 2019 has a 'special ships, smart solutions’ theme. Image: Europort

The opening ceremony of one of Europe’s biggest conferences is set to include insight from four major shipowners on some of the key challenges facing the maritime sector.

Europort 2019’s opening ceremony will feature a panel discussion focusing on Europort’s smart business, people and technology themes. The panel comprises Antonio Bordlis, CEO of Boluda Towage and Salvage, to represent the workboat sector; and Mikki Koskinen, managing director of ESL Shipping, speaking for the short sea business. Also onstage will be Pieter Van Oord, CEO of dredging and offshore wind contractor, Van Oord, and Anita Hulst, director, North Sea, for ferry operator Stena Line.

Speaking about the conference, which has an overall 'special ships, smart solutions’ theme, Raymond Siliakus, Europort exhibition manager, said: "The breadth and depth of our programme is our unique selling point. For anyone active in the special purpose ship segment, Europort offers the chance to take part in a wide range of events that will deepen knowledge, extend networks and open up business opportunities.”

New for 2019

The conference and exhibition, taking place between 5-8 November at the Rotterdam Ahoy Centre, will include the new Safety4Sea Europort Awards, which will highlight achievements in Smart, Green and Safe solutions and Career Excellence in shipping. Awards will be presented in these four categories on successive Europort days.

A key Europort aim is to strengthen engagement with the emerging younger generation of maritime professionals. Europort 2019 is therefore introducing #YoungEuroport - a stream of events developed specifically so that younger industry participants use the opportunity to gain knowledge and expertise, and network with their peers. The programme includes: 'The future generation of shipping’ seminar; student pitches; a CareerLab; and social gatherings.


The Europort Masterclasses, jointly organised by Rotterdam Ahoy and Netherlands Maritime Technology, will return, with one masterclass taking place on each of the exhibition days. This year’s topics are: Naval innovations as a source of inspiration; Maritime solutions for offshore renewable energy; Optimising the efficiency of shorts sea operations; and Reducing the carbon footprint of ferries and cruise ships.

Special conferences

Specialised industry conferences will include the European Tugowners Association (ETA) Autumn conference on 7 November; CEDA Dredging Days on November 7-8; the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) Maritime Industry 4.0 Conference, which will look at the transformative power of digital technology, on 5 November; the Mare Forum Ship Finance conference on 6 November; and the BLN Inland Shipping Conference on 8 November.


A new element of this year’s Europort is the Underwater Works Pavilion, which will include suppliers to diving, inspection and salvage companies as well as companies that manufacture, design or supply materials that can be used in high pressure environments. Tools for cutting, welding and other manual labour below the surface, drones, ROV's, diving outfits and other materials at the cutting edge of technology will be displayed. A large dive tank will be used by the exhibitors to give demonstrations.

In the Start-Up Plaza delegates can meet tomorrow’s leading firms. Young entrepeneurs will showcase their innovative products or services for the maritime industry.  Europort exhibitors will give 20-minute presentations 'On Stage' every day, during opening times of the exhibition.

Alongside this, MariMatch Europort, on 6-7 November, is an international "matchmaking" event for companies and institutions in the maritime industry who are looking for new business and/or research partners. The event, which will focus on innovative technology, offers the opportunity to gain new international contacts for future technology partnerships.

Taking place on 7 November is KVK Business Challenge Europort. This is a shipping-themed edition of the KVK open innovation platform that brings together larger companies and innovative SMEs and start-ups in the online and physical realms.

On the evening of Wednesday 6 November, delegates can network on the SS Rotterdam during the Europort Cruise Party. During its former service, the ship sailed off to almost every corner in the world as the former flagship of the Holland America Line.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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