Two hundred delegates, including many of Europe’s senior port and shipping executives, gathered for the Annual European Shipping Congress at Dublin Castle, today (29th, June 2010) to discuss the current state of the European Shortsea shipping and port sector.
The event, which was organised by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) was formally opened by Minister Ciaran Cuffe, Minister of State at the Department of Transport. The theme of the Congress was “strategies and opportunities for recovery in European Shortsea Shipping”.
Speaking at the conference Mr Fran Dodd, Logistics Manager of the Irish Dairy Board said "Competitive shortsea shipping has been fundamental to our success and is fundamental to our future" IDB export 100% of their products, including Kerrygold brand to over 80 countries worldwide.
Major Irish exporting companies such as Irish Dairy Board, Wellman International and Rusal, (the worlds largest alumina and aluminium producer with a major facility in on the Shannon Estuary), all provided key note papers on their perspective for export led recovery.
“This year’s congress is taking place at a time when the industry is still concerned about the pace and fragility of the recovery in the European economic zone, said IMDO Director Glenn Murphy. “The European shipping sector has endured a highly turbulent 18 months which has seen shipping demand and port throughput fall right across Europe. This has resulted in most market segments having to deal with capacity issues and falling freight rates. The Congress appears optimistic but still highly cautious of the volatile nature of the recovery path for the sector”
In his opening address Minister Cuff welcomed that Ireland had become a recognised location where leaders from across Europe now come to regularly discuss key shipping and port issues. ”I am particularly pleased to note that, although issues such as cost and capacity where very much to the fore of the industry agenda, highly important areas such as climate change and vessel emissions were also being debated at the congress,” he said. The European Shipping Congress is now scheduled to be held in Ireland every alternate year and is scheduled to return in 2012 after being hosted in Germany in 2011.