A Stronger Future for Short Sea Shipping

As shipping gets smarter and more sustainable, the Coastlink conference addresses how short sea and container feeder shipping can best secure a stronger future.

The changing European logistics landscape, managing transport procurement and service, and the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will be the focus of the 2019 Coastlink conference, which aims to offer diverse insights into the challenges and opportunities that these issues bring. 2019 is the first year the conference will be delivered by its new owner, Port Strategy’s publisher, Mercator Media Ltd and will take place on 12-13 June in Southampton, UK, alongside commercial marine exhibition Seawork International on 11-13 June.

Andrew Webster, CEO of Mercator Media Ltd, says: “Mercator is a great, new home for the Coastlink Network events. “It fits very well with what we do and complements our magazines that overlap this marketplace; Port Strategy, The Motorship and Maritime Journal as well as our events, GreenPort Congress, Propulsion & Future Fuels and the well-known commercial marine exhibition, Seawork.”

Competitive supply chain

The conference was originally formed to create a neutral pan- European network dedicated to the promotion of the short sea and container feeder shipping sector and help create a more competitive supply chain. As the port sector is a key stakeholder in this chain, Clive Thomas, head of commercial & property at ABP Southampton, will deliver the Coastlink welcome address.

Session one of the conference’s first day will look at adapting to the changing economic demands for transportation in Europe’s logistics landscape. As part of this session, delegates will learn about the strategic importance of short sea shipping in the Port of Antwerp from Justin Atkin, the port’s UK and Ireland representative. His talk will focus on Brexit as a catalyst to the re-engineering of supply chains and the modal shift it could create from accompanied trailers to containers. This session will also look at the challenges around the European road haulage industry and the global shortage of staff in logistics.


Session two of the conference’s first day will consider how to manage transport procurement and service, looking at the best cost and delivery solutions, while reducing the environmental footprint of operations.

Improving efficiency is a continuing priority for ports as well as other industry stakeholders, and panellists for this session will include Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association (BPA) and Alex Veitch, head of multimodal policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Andrew Ellis from DP-World owned Unifeeder UK will be delivering the keynote talk for session two. Unifeeder provide the largest feeder and shortsea network in Europe, while sister company Unimed Feeder Services is a leading feeder operator in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

On the agenda for session three on day two of the conference is the BRI and how Chinese initiatives and investments are influencing European short sea shipping. The session will be moderated by Nick Lambert, director of NLA Ltd, while joining the panel discussion will be Mark Hamson, international trade adviser at the UK government’s Department for International Trade.

As part of the session, Krzysztof Zalewski, marketing & international relations specialist at the Port of Gdansk will offer his insight into China’s growing business in Europe through the BRI.

Grounded insight

Mercator Media took over the Coastlink conference from its co-founder Gavin Roser, ambassador at large for The European Freight and Logistics Leaders’ Forum (F&L). Shipping professional Mr Roser will chair the conference this year and has acted as consultant to ensure its continued relevance.

Since being established by Mr Roser and David Cheslin in 2004, Coastlink has hosted 18 conferences and meetings to help maximise the utilisation and potential of shipping
networks; achieve an environmentally friendly modal shift to shipping; encourage more services linking ports in European waters and develop collaboration between shippers, ports, shipping lines and freight organisations.

Source: https://www.portstrategy.com

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