Around 350 delegates attended the conference sessions at Panama Maritime XIII World Conference & Exhibition, which included a bunker session organised by IBIA. The event, which took place on 12 to 15 March at the Megapolis convention centre in Panama, brought together important players in the global maritime industry.
IBIA also had one of around 80 stands at the exhibition with our chairman Robin Meech and our events working group chair and board member Eugenia Benavides in attendance.
This conference and exhibition aims to bring together players in the maritime industry to find new and proactive solutions to the most important challenges facing the sector today and analyse future projections. On this occasion, the event celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Panama Registry and the recent completion of the Panama Canal expansion.
The inaugural day had several high-profile participants. Kitack Lim, the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was there, along with the President of the Organizing Committee of the event, Flor Torrijos and the Minister of the Presidency of Panama, Álvaro Alemán.
Jorge Luis Quijano, Administrator of the Panama Canal, received the “Maritime Personality of the Year” title during the opening day ceremonies, which also saw IBIA member Harry Quinn receive the Social Responsibility Award in recognition of several projects executed for kids in a poor community by his company QuinnOil, including a free baseball academy for children.
The conference sessions ran from Monday 13 March to Tuesday 14 March.
On Monday, Jorge Barakat, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Administrator of the Maritime Authority of Panama took a historical look at the centenary of the Panama Registry, while Jorge Luis Quijano spoke about the performance of the Canal after the expansion.
Former IBIA chairman Jens Maul Jorgensen, Director of bunkers and risk management at Oldendorff Carriers GMBH & Co Kg presented a paper on shipping and bunkering in a session called “Shipping; looking forward to growth opportunities”. He shared this session with Fernando Solorzano, Panama General director of merchant marine and Tomas Avila, General Secretary of the Panama Maritime Authority who addressed with the conference on the role of the modern flag state registry in the economy.
The second day of the conference opened with Scoot Hamilton presenting the Next Practice Institute, speaking about the relationship between global innovations and the adaptability of the industry. Following this presentation, Óscar Bazán, Executive Vice President of Planning and Commercial Development of the Panama Canal Authority spoke about the inter-oceanic route and its diversification of businesses following the expansion.
Next up was the bunker session organised by IBIA: “Addressing challenges in the fuel market” which was moderated by one of our members, Nicolas Vukelja from Terramar. Adrian Tolson, consultant of 20|20 Marine Energy presented his view on the bunkering industry market development up to 2020. IBIA Chairman and well-renowned marine industry consultant Robin Meech presented a paper on abatement technologies and new fuels to meet the global sulphur cap in 2020, and John Gordon, consultant for Residual Fuel Desulfurization at Field Upgrading spoke about the company’s technology to process refinery bottoms into marine fuel complying with lower sulphur limits. Eugenia Benavides, Marine fuel director at Terpel and IBIA board member did a presentation on IBIA with the key message: “If you are not in IBIA you are not in bunkering”.
Another panel, “When giants fall,” heard about the Hanjin case, presented by Elizabeth Turnbull of Clyde & Co LLP, and the OW Bunker case, presented by Casey Bryant from US-based attorney firm Simms Showers LLP. This panel also heard from the arbitrator and maritime consultant Jose Maria Alcantara about the legal situation for creditors in case of shipping Company bankruptcies.
The final part of the conference dealt with the history and future of Panama as a global transshipment point, followed by a social event hosted by the Panama maritime chamber commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Panama ship registry.
Panama Maritime concluded on Wednesday, 15 March, with a visit to the new Canal locks of Cocolí and a reception in the Miraflores locks Visitor Center, courtesy of the Panama Canal Authority.
Report by Eugenia Benavides