The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) World Ports Conference 2023, hosted by AD Ports Group, has concluded at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).  

The third and final day of the conference built on and extended the insightful, engaging and wide-ranging discussions of the first two days, led by global port industry leaders, policymakers and industry experts, under the theme Reinventing Ports.

The closing day began with a roundtable on port innovation, where technology experts showcased a real world example of a port cyber resilience centre. Discussions then moved on to the economic outlook for global container ports from the analyst, academic and industry perspective, factoring in geopolitics, sourcing trends, emissions regulations and the breakup of shipping alliances. Later in the morning, participants heard from the World Bank’s lead transport economist on the updates the bank is making to its Port Reform Toolkit, long used by many countries and their ports as a model for private-public concessioning of landlord ports.

With the UAE currently marking its Year of Sustainability, the theme of sustainability continued into the final day. This included a final panel session featuring Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change Champion for COP28, and President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The session examined the tangible decarbonisation tools for shipping and ports and the benefits that they can bring, which will be a key point of focus for the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28) in Dubai later in November.

Bringing the conference to a close, Othman Khouri, Acting Executive Director, Corporate Authority at AD Ports Group, said: "At AD Ports Group, we see the transition to clean energy, and digital transformation, as opportunities rather than challenges, which is why sustainability and digitalisation lie at the heart of our business strategy. The past three days have offered a unique platform to discuss and gain insights into how the ports industry is addressing these themes, which will play a central role in the industry’s evolution. I would like to thank everyone who participated, and wish Hamburg Port Authority the very best of luck in hosting next year’s World Ports Conference."

The World Ports Conference is a major global platform for outlining the crucial role that seaports play in supporting the global trade sector. The 2023 conference was the first time the event had been held in the Middle East and North Africa region.

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