Port authorities from Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, and the United States have signed a declaration on their collective response to disruption, digitalisation, and decarbonisation at the 6th Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR), which virtually hosted by the Antwerp Port Authority on 22 and 23 June.

With this year’s PAR theme being “Ports as Levers for Change”, participants discussed issues of disruption, digitalisation, and decarbonisation facing the maritime industry, and how port authorities should remain agile, adaptable, and innovative in response to the challenges.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) called on PAR members to strengthen collaboration on safe crew change, cyber resilience and response, as well as decarbonisation of the maritime sector.

The declaration recognised work by the Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (SG-STAR) Fund, the first global tripartite initiative established in 2020 on safe crew changes, through the CrewSafe audit programme to bring a higher level of confidence and quality control checks into crew change processes.

The declaration also reflected PAR members’ agreement to consider joining the Port Authorities CIO Cybersecurity Network (PACC-Net), established by MPA, to foster collaboration on maritime cybersecurity as a global network to facilitate early sharing of cyber threat information and enable timely responses to such threats.

Additionally, having noted the expected rise in container transport, the port authorities have seen the need for a global and neutral platform, allowing multimodal comparison of container routes.

Therefore, the coalition of PAR ports has expressed interest in exploring the potential of Routescanner to act as a transparent and neutral platform to examine container transport options and to further improve sustainable and cost-efficient global supply chains.

Furthermore, port authorities also agreed to consider collaborating with MPA and like-minded stakeholders on maritime decarbonisation solutions through the maritime decarbonisation centre to be set up in Singapore, as well as overseas decarbonisation centres.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of digitalisation and ports have adapted to quickly harness technology for contactless operations. The plight of seafarers amidst tightened border restrictions also has implications on global trade and their health and safety,” said MPA’s chief executive, Quah Ley Hoon, and went on to add, “Today’s declaration is an important step forward to push forth with digitalisation and decarbonisation solutions in the face of disruption.”

The 19 PAR members which signed the declaration are Abu Dhabi Ports, Antwerp Port Authority, Associated British Ports, Busan Port Authority, Guangzhou Port Authority, Hamburg Port Authority, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Montreal Port Authority, Ningbo Municipal Port Administration Bureau, Port and Harbor Bureau, Kobe City Government, Port Klang Authority, Port of Barcelona, Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Santos, Rotterdam Port Authority, Seattle Port Authority, Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission and Tanger Med Port Authority.

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