Panamanian President Martín Torrijos accepted the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) Port Person of the Year award at a special luncheon in his honor on October 2 held in conjunction with the AAPA 96th annual convention.
After accepting the award Torrijos gave the convention’s keynote address focusing on the $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion project that began this month which will more than double ship capacity through the 93-year-old canal.
Hundreds of seaport and maritime transportation leaders industry experts and service providers from throughout the Western Hemisphere converged on the Norfolk Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Norfolk Virginia for the event which ran from September 30 through October 4.
Hosted by the Virginia Port Authority the five-day maritime industry gathering featured an agenda of issue-defining presentations panel discussions interactive sessions networking events and a robust exhibition of service and product providers to the port industry.
Kurt Nagle AAPA’s president and CEO remarked that this year’s convention theme “Discovering New Worlds” was especially appropriate because this is the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown a short distance from Norfolk.
“In addition to engaging in business sessions and networking opportunities in the midst of Hampton Roads one of today’s major ports convention attendees visited America’s historic trading port at Jamestown” said Nagle. “We believe that through these activities participants can gain an enhanced historic and present-day perspective of the importance and value that seaports provide. With this perspective they may be better able to discuss with their community’s residents civic leaders and policymakers the critical role that ports play in the economy and the quality of our lives.”
During a luncheon event on Thursday October 4 AAPA and the Association of Canadian Port Authorities signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue cooperative projects of mutual interest. Cooperative projects could include exchanging information on ways to construct better more efficient and secure port facilities; cooperating with government agencies and private initiatives on programs projects and activities for facility and human capital development; improving port security and industrial safety; and securing necessary funding for implementation of environmental programs and infrastructure.