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We are delighted to welcome you on 25 and 26 April in the heart of Paris for the 20th edition of the Annual Conference of the European Sea Ports Organisation. This year’s conference will be organised together with Union des Ports de France, our host of this truly special, Olympic edition. The conference will take place at Comet Bourse, a state-of-the-art conference venue in the city’s 2nd Arrondissement.

Also, in 2024, the new normal will most likely be defined by disruption, geo-economic and geo-political tensions leading to more frequent disruptions to supply chains, greater volatility on the energy markets and a fiercer international competition. Adding to this, the need to act and progress on the ambitions and concrete policies that Europe has put in place over the last five years, it is clear there is a lot to discuss. So, reasons enough for the European port community to gather in Paris, for ports and port stakeholders to put their heads together and share knowledge, try to take stock and pave together the way towards a sustainable, resilient, smart and more competitive Europe, in which ports are playing more than ever a critical and strategic role.

So, what have we planned for you?

On the first day of the conference, delegates will hear from experts about the geopolitical, economic and energy perspectives for Europe’s ports. After these scene-setting presentations, three port academics will discuss how they view the future of ports in this world in transition. This will be followed by an out-of-the-box presentation on how ports could increasingly be the resource for the city. The floor will then be given to some port CEOs to comment.

In the afternoon of day one, we will focus on implementation. Coming towards the end of the five-year European political cycle and preparing for a new Commission and Parliament, we want to take stock of what has been agreed over the last years, and what needs to be done to support the implementation of Europe’s policy and legislative initiatives in the most effective way.

Be it on meeting the hydrogen production and import targets, on defining the role of ports when it comes to carbon capture and storage, on the implementation of the EU-ETS maritime, or on corporate sustainable reporting and due diligence, experts will explain where we stand and which challenges are to be faced to make it happen. Ports will share their experiences. The final presentation on day one will introduce the participants in the world of Artificial Intelligence, who knows, maybe the biggest gamechanger after all.

On day two of the conference, we will talk about investments. What is the investment outlook of Europe’s ports? Which categories of investments prevail for the next ten years? What are the total investment needs of European ports? The new ESPO Port Investments Study will offer a detailed insight in these questions. Secondly, we will focus on how all these investments can actually be financed. What is the role of banks in financing sustainable port projects? What is CINEA’s experience when it comes to ports’ projects ? What has the Commission in mind for ports and port investments when it comes to preparing the new Connecting Europe Facility?

We continue the morning discussions looking at how to strengthen the resilience of ports given their strategic character, while at the same time support them further in their role as Europe’s main commercial door to the world.

As usual, we will end the conference with a political debate, where we will take stock of the last five years and look at the priorities ahead. Speeding up on decarbonisation, enhancing resilience, strengthening competitiveness – how best to make this happen?

We already have an interesting line-up of confirmed speakers and more are yet to come. So, also this year’s ESPO Conference will combine eye-opening speeches and contributions with more hands-on practical sessions, and fruitful discussions between ports, port stakeholders and policy makers.

But also this year, we do not end a Conference day with the last speech. On the evening of 25 April, our hosts, the Union des Ports de France, invites us for an exquisite conference dinner in the Musée des Arts Forains at the Pavillons de Bercy, a venue worth a fairytale.

So, many reasons to register now for the Conference,  book your hotel and start preparing to join us in Paris!  We are happy to share with you a list of recommended hotels in the typical Parisian style, in different price categories, all centrally located, at walking distance of the venue, Comet bourse. Since we are just a couple of months away from the Olympics, Paris is getting very busy. So do not wait to secure your accommodation!


Click here to register

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