The AAPA Latino 2021 conference took place from the 29 November to 1 December in Cartagena, Colombia. This is one of the key events for the port segment in Latin America, with attendance breaking records once again.
A key event in the port sector
This 25th Latin American Port Congress took place at the Hilton Hotel in Cartagena and was a hybrid event, taking place both on site and online. This decision was made to ensure that Covid-19 would not force anyone to miss this par excellence annual industry, which dominated the 2022 maritime-port agenda. The most representative figures from the port segment were in attendance over the three days, making presentations and speaking about current and future projects and challenges of the industry.
Also present were the most powerful companies from the port services sector, such as Prosertek, promoting their solutions at the fair stands. An exhibition space that once again represented a great opportunity for anyone wishing to successfully enter the Latin American market and grow a port business there.
The intense networking programme also once again made this fair the place to be to close port business deals in Latin America. The organisation estimates that there were more than 250 business opportunities this year.
Port sector challenges in Latin America
The fair was thematically structured through the presentation of the study “Great challenges for ports in the post-pandemic period”, prepared by Ricardo Sánchez, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, International Trade and Integration Division of ECLAC.
This paper talked about of ports as being increasingly technological value-added industries, exerting an influence in the supply chain and a major contribution to the economic development of nations.
According to Sánchez, ports must intensify their efforts “to change the way society perceives this industry” while also investing in their relationship with the urban environment, with companies, with the state and with workers as a way of coping with future challenges, which were grouped as follows:
- Structural factors
- Institutionality and governance
- Regulatory factors
- Market factors
- Workplace factor
- Decarbonisation and environmental protection
- Facilitation of trade and transport
Digital transformation, post-pandemic scenario and Sustainable Development Goals
Other conferences focused on the second and third days of the conference and addressed the recovery of the post-pandemic sector, investments and projects in Latin America, challenges for competitiveness in the region, the challenges of logistics in the Caribbean and radiography of the cruise industry, as well as many other matters that concern the port industry in general and the Latin American ports in particular.
There was also a special emphasis on extremely relevant issues for the sector such as digital transformation and the influence of the port industry within the UN -driven sustainable development goals.
The meeting was topped off with a technical visit to the Port of Cartagena (Colombia), to allow participants to have first-hand knowledge of what the situation and needs of the ports in the area are.