USA: Panel of Global Port Experts to Convene in Los Angeles

Panel of Global Port Experts to Convene in Los Angeles

In an era of global economic uncertainty, changing trade patterns, evolving ship size demands and ever-tightening government budgets, the financial viability of port capital investments is a topic of much discussion, particularly among the world’s top port financial managers.

At the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) upcoming 28th World Port Conference in Los Angeles finance experts from around the world will gather to explore and debate the latest trends in topics that include development financing sources, port property valuation, alternative project financing, risk management/assessment and bottom-line investment assessment criteria.

In addition to the May 6th second convening of the new Port Economics and Finance Committee – which is open to all conference registrants – Committee Chair Dov Frohlinger and Co-Chair Molly Campbell have put together an aptly named discussion forum on May 9th entitled, “Do you Really Want to do it? Port Project Decision Criteria, ROI and Beyond.” The forum was the idea of Mr. Frohlinger, chief operating officer of the Israel Ports Company, and Molly C. Campbell, deputy executive director of finance and administration at the Port of Los Angeles. Both currently co-chair the IAPH Finance Committee.

The IAPH 28th World Port Conference is being held at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles May 6-10, 2013. The finance forum will be held on Thursday, May 9, and will be moderated by Kathleen Brown, chairman Goldman Sachs & Co. Investment Banking for the Midwest Region. Panelists from the port decision-making side will include Peter Mollema, head of environmental management, Port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands; Martin Byrne, chief executive at Port Nelson in New Zealand; and John Wolfe, chief executive officer at the Port of Tacoma.

Whether a port’s financial investment is a good return or considered justifiable is not so cut-and-dry, but rather based on different criteria,” said Frohlinger. “Our first forum at the biennial IAPH World Ports Conference will explore decision criteria for approving projects. Most of us in the industry begin by analyzing a project based on traditional financial criteria or parameters from a port authority’s or regional perspective. But in many cases, projects move forward even when those financial criteria will not be met due to non-financial considerations which make it clear that certain projects are the right thing to do, even if the project will result in questionable financial return.”

Formed in 2011, the IAPH Finance Committee focuses on a range of port and trade-related financial and decision-making issues. These include risk management, Public Private Partnership development, concession management, financial reporting and project financing — all increasingly important topics as more ports globally become involved in major development projects. The criteria for evaluating such public sector investments is an ongoing topic of debate at all levels of government, and one the Committee hopes to bring to the forefront to foster ideas and best practices.

About the World Ports Conference

As an organization, IAPH was formed nearly six decades ago following a convening of members from the global port community in Los Angeles in 1955. The biennial World Ports Conference is attended by 400-500 high-level officials from IAPH’s member base of nearly 200 ports and port organizations spanning 90 countries. IAPH member ports handle more than 60 percent of the world’s sea-borne trade and nearly 80 percent of the world’s containerized cargo. Topics for this year’s sessions include:

– Piracy and efforts to curb piracy

– Best practices in port finance

– The emergence of LNG-powered vessels and handling/transport through ports

– Global warming and climate change

– Port Community Systems

– Port trucking logistics

– Zero Emissions strategies among global ports

– Managing the landside of the cruise business

– Advancing women in the port and maritime industries

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) is a nonprofit global alliance of roughly 200 ports and 150 maritime companies and institutes representing about 90 countries. The IAPH is dedicated to fostering cooperation among ports and harbors and promoting the vital role they play in creating a peaceful, more prosperous world. Based in Tokyo and recognized as the only voice speaking for ports around the globe, the IAPH has Consultative NGO status from the United Nations and is active in developing international trade and maritime policy. IAPH member ports handle about 80 percent of world container traffic and more than 60 percent of all international maritime trade.


Press Release, April 4, 2013