‘NI Ports Strategic Framework’ Welcomed at Flagship British Ports Association Conference in Newcastle
News of a new Strategic Framework for Northern Ireland’s Ports has been welcomed at the launch of the British Ports Association (BPA) 2014 Annual Conference which is being hosted by Warrenpoint Harbour today and tomorrow.
This is only the second time the flagship industry event has been hosted in Northern Ireland, attracting over 200 delegates including BPA Members and Non Members, industry partners and key stakeholders.
Members of the organization welcomed confirmation of the development of a new ‘Strategic Framework for Northern Ireland’s Ports’ by Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy, who spoke at the event this morning. It is being viewed as an opportunity to ensure the necessary policy and strategic environment is fit for purpose to support the future growth and development of ports in the region. The move reflects the strengthening of regional devolved policies across the rest of the UK which are designed to meet the specific devolved needs and nuances of each region.
The event which was held in the nearby Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Newcastle, provided the opportunity for industry representatives to discuss all the latest policy, practice, trends and technology developments in the ports and harbours sector from across the UK and Europe.
As well as local contributions from Peter Conway, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Harbour Authority; Danny Kennedy MLA, Minister for Regional Development; Arlene Foster MLA, Enterprise Minister and Prof Neil Gibson, NICEP delegates will have heard from senior representatives from the UK Department of Transport and Transport Scotland, as well Dublin Port Company. Sessions included a focus on Economic Trends, Border Security, Port Policy Changes and Marine Safety as well as new trends in weather prediction and ship design – including research into the development of crewless, autonomous vessels.
Speaking at the conference, Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said: “ I am delighted to be able to welcome the British Ports Association Conference to this beautiful part of Northern Ireland. In announcing the development of a ‘Strategic Framework for Northern Ireland’s Ports’ I am setting out my commitment to the economic, social and environmental development of our local ports.”
Speaking about the event and the new Framework, Peter Conway, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Harbour Authority said,
“Warrenpoint Port has been honoured to host the BPA 2014 conference and we are delighted to have brought delegates from all across the UK, Ireland and further afield to Northern Ireland, many for the first time. The conference is very timely as the Minister announces further details about the impending review of NI Ports. The Conference has been an ideal opportunity for us to discuss with our peers the new challenges and opportunities that we are presented with and to learn about new industry developments which we can now feed into the review to ensure future policy delivers what we as a industry need it to do to maximize our economic potential.
“It has also been a fantastic opportunity to welcome our guests to the stunning Newry, Mourne and Down coastline and to showcase the beautiful scenery and the renowned local hospitality.”
Andrew Moffat, Chairman of the British Ports Association said: “The Annual BPA Conference is the flagship event for the industry and we were delighted that the busy port of Warrenpoint was able to host us this year. As the UK ports industry continues to play a fundamentally important role in the country’s economy carrying over 95% of the UK’s international trade through imports and exports each year, it is important to ensure that relevant regional policies continue to underpin and support that great work. In mirroring similar programmes within the other devolved regions we too welcome news of the impending Framework and hope that it will ultimately serve to reinforce the important economic contribution that member ports make while ensuring that as an industry we remain competitive in what is a truly international marketplace.”
Further details about the conference can be found on the Conference website on www.bpaconference.co.uk