APSN Forum 2022 Returns in-person in Manila, the Philippines

Oct 20, 2022

The APSN Forum on Safe and Inclusive Pandemic Recovery of APEC Port Industry (APSN Forum 2022) took place on 18-19 October 2022 as a hybrid event in Manila and virtually. The APSN Forum 2022 was co-hosted by APSN and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).  


About 450 participants from 15 APEC Member Economies attended the APSN Forum 2022, including Australia; Canada; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; Peru; the Philippines; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; the United States and Viet Nam. Representatives from international organizations such as UN ESCAP, APEC SEN and the World Bank Group were also present at the APSN Forum 2022. 


The two-day APSN Forum 2022 brought together the Asia-Pacific maritime community. Speakers and panelists included senior officials from port authorities, industry leaders from port operators and shipping lines, researchers from academic field, and senior officials from international organizations and other stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region. The Forum provided a timely and important platform for all speakers and participants to exchange ideas and share views on the pandemic recovery of the APEC ports in order to help the port and related sectors to cope with the future challenges.


The Forum consisted of the Opening Session, Keynote Session I&II, and Panel Discussion. Mr. Fransciquiel O. Mancile, Officer-In-Charge, General Manager, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), moderated the Opening Session. In his opening remarks, Mr. Marc-Yves Bertin, President of the APSN Council, thanked the Philippines and the Philippine Ports Authority for hosting this annual Forum in Manila. Mr. President Bertin also commended the APSN Secretariat for doing outstanding work on planning the programme for this Forum, both in terms of theme and content, but also in pro-actively inviting our speakers to address the Forum. Kim Robert de Leon, Undersecretary for Administration and Finance of the DOTr of the Philippines, on behalf of Honorable Jaime J. Bautista, the Secretary, delivered welcome remarks at the Opening Session. Kim Robert de Leon stressed the need for a resilient supply chain anchored on port digitalization and strategic port infrastructure spending. Kim Robert de Leon said seaports are vital to supply chains, serving as trade links between regional production and worldwide consumption. Kim Robert de Leon also thanked the APSN for initiating the Forum since it is a timely opportunity to share ideas with officials of different port authorities, port and shipping line operators, counterparts from international organizations, and other port stakeholders.


In the Keynote Session I, speakers shared their views on the supply chain resilience in the industry. They expressed that ensuring supply chain resilience in the industry has become the top priority and is the key to pandemic recovery of the APEC port industry. These requires to accelerate the digitalization of the industry and deepen the cooperation among different stakeholders. The vulnerabilities of the supply chain during the pandemic calls for new solutions, digital tools and better ecosystem of collaboration.


Among the speakers in the Keynote Session I were (in program order):

Ø Moderator: Mr. Tan Cheng Peng, First Vice President of the APSN Council


Ø Atty. Julius Yano

Department of Transportation, the Philippines


Ø Capt. K. Subramaniam 

President, International Association of Ports and Harbors


Ø Mr. Kenneth Lim

Assistant Chief Executive (Industry &Transformation), Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore


Ø Capt. Mohamad Halim Ahmed

Deputy Director General (Planning), Marine Department of Malaysia 


Ø Mr. Li Fengli 

General Manager, Shandong Port Group


In the Keynote Session II, speakers shared their views on the challenges and opportunities in the pandemic recovery of Asia-Pacific ports. They agreed that, despite the pandemic causing challenges to the ports in both the short term and long term, new opportunities emerge in the industry. Speakers emphasized that seafarers and port workers are the key to ensuring the efficient supply chain of maritime shipping. Increasing the education and skill training and better recruitment of the workforce, especially offering women more opportunities in the industry, are the key to a more sustainable future. Decarbonization presents another big challenge to the whole supply chain. Renewable fuels and new energy solutions provided opportunities for the industry to continue efforts to decarbonize the port and shipping activities. All the speakers mentioned and emphasized that no single party can achieve the goals of climate change on its own –collaboration is the priority and all need to work together.


Among the speakers in the Keynote Session II were (in program order):


Ø Moderator: Mr. Tim Meisner, APSN Senior Consultant


Ø Mr. Phillip Marsham 

     Executive Director, International Container Terminal Services, Inc.


Ø Mr. Guy Platten 

Secretary-General, International Chamber of Shipping


Ø Ms. Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou 

President, Women's International Shipping & Trading Association


Ø Mr. Jens Eskelund

Chief Representative, China A.P. Moller – Maersk


Ø Mr. Ding Songbing

General Manager, Strategy and Research Department, Shanghai International Port (Group) Co., Ltd.


In the Panel Discussion, panelists had a heated discussion on the sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific port industry. Panelists agreed that the availability and cost of low and zero-carbon energy are the biggest challenge to build sustainable ports. In addition, the lag of relevant regulations and the lack of supportive policies are also important factors to impede sustainable development of ports. The proposed solutions from the panelists are: to further promote the digitalization, to increase the workforce training, to improve the emergency management, and to enhance the cooperation collaboration among parties on sustainable development of the ports.


Among the speakers in the Panel Discussion were (in program order):


Ø Facilitator: Dr. Geraldine Knatz, APSN Senior Consultant


Ø Mr. Dominador Antonio Bustamante

Stakeholders Management and Communications Manager

Asian Terminals, Inc.


Ø Mr. Ninan Oommen Biju 

Sr Port & Maritime Transport Specialist, The World Bank Group


Ø Dr. Luo Xunjie

Vice President of Tianjin Port (Group) Co., Ltd


Ø Mr. Bui Van Quy 

Executive Vice President, Saigon Newport Corporation, Viet Nam

Chairman, Tancang Haiphong International Container Terminal (TC-HICT)