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News Release
FOR RELEASE - August 21, 2019
Contact: Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director,
(703) 684-5700

American Association of Port Authorities
Phone: (202) 792-4033

Technology, Big Data Among Featured Topics at AAPA Annual Convention in Norfolk

Annual event features Western Hemisphere’s largest gathering of seaport and maritime transportation professionals

Among the topics to be addressed at the 108th Annual Convention and Expo of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) … the unified and recognized voice of seaports in the Americas … will be a panel focused on tackling new technologies that convert data into wisdom to help ports streamline operations, improve service offerings and be more competitive.

Titled “Revolutionizing the Working Waterfront,” the panel will comprise three subject matter experts who will address new technological and information collection opportunities that are helping shape today’s supply chain and freight/passenger logistics.

Among the trio of panellists is Mark Higgins, director of Motor Carrier Experience for Virginia International Terminals (VIT), LLC. He will discuss how VIT’s Truck Reservation System is driving productivity, efficiency and predictability across operations at The Port of Virginia. “The Truck Reservation System is truly an enabling technology that has allowed us to increase landside productivity, smooth out the flow of trucks into the terminals throughout the day, and achieve record-breaking turn times in our port,” he said.

Nico De Cauwer, senior business architect for Digitalisation & Port Community Projects at the Port of Antwerp, Europe’s second-largest seaport, is another of the panellists.  He will highlight the Antwerp port’s digital innovation initiatives and implementation strategy. “To be competitive in today’s supply chain logistics,” said Mr. De Cauwer, “a port authority is only one small link in the global chain. Therefore, as one of the important pillars in its future vision and strategy, it’s very important that each port be highly focused on digitalisation in a very rapidly evolving environment. Using concepts of co-creation with selectively-chosen industry partners, and implementing the triple helix model of innovation, we are preparing the Port of Antwerp for the future.”

The third panellist is Matthew Prumm, Seaport OPX’s global lead for business development. Mr. Prumm will discuss the state of digitization in the global port sector. “Shifting the focus of ‘digitization’ from the logistical aspects of port operations to the physical environment is an area where advances in technology now provide opportunities for ports to get more from their existing marine-side assets and infrastructure,” he said.

Also representing Seaport OPX as one of the convention’s Pre-Panamax-level sponsors, Mr. Prumm noted: “Seaport OPX is proud to continue supporting the AAPA and its member ports with innovative solutions to optimize operations and promote sustainable growth. We look forward to this year’s annual convention hosted by The Port of Virginia, a port widely recognized for its commitment to innovation.”

Representing another Pre-Panamax-level sponsor is TMEIC Corporation Marketing Director Michael I. Cooper, who said: “TMEIC Corporation, of Roanoke, Virginia, is honored to be both an exhibitor and Pre-Panamax and luncheon sponsor of the 2019 AAPA convention in Norfolk.  As a proud Virginia company, we welcome all of the conference attendees to our beautiful Commonwealth and look forward to the opportunity to introduce them to the transformational role that TMEIC has played in the ongoing historic expansion at The Port of Virginia as the primary supplier of motors, drives and crane automation systems.”

The annual convention’s third Pre-Panamax sponsor is Houston-based Konecranes. “Konecranes is proud to support the AAPA and its annual convention, being held this year in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the birthplace of America’s first port,” said Jussi Suhonen, sales director for Port Solutions.

The convention’s three-day business program features a robust agenda, with industry leaders and subject matter experts focusing on topics ranging from ports as economic development engines, to technology and big data, cargo transportation efficiency, trade policy, emergency response and cybersecurity.

More information about AAPA’s 108th Annual Convention and Expo, including its business program agenda, exhibitors and sponsors, is available at


Hosted by The Port of Virginia for the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA)


AAPA’s 108th Annual Convention and Expo will feature a general session focusing on the uses of big data and how ports can use new information collection and technology resources to improve their service offerings.


The convention runs Oct. 13-16, with open business sessions all day Oct. 15 and 16.


Hilton Norfolk The Main, 100 East Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510


Professional journalists representing bona-fide media outlets may request a code by emailing Aaron Ellis at or Joe Harris at to register online for complimentary access to the opening day harbor tour, the open business sessions (Oct. 15-16), the exhibition hall, and the closing reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 16. Journalists registering online should select the “Media” registration option after receiving their code.

About The Port of Virginia
The Port of Virginia, headquartered in Norfolk, is comprised of four marine terminals, two intermodal container transfer facilities and a barge terminal. It has on-dock, double-stack rail served by two Class One rail lines, Norfolk Southern and CSX. The Port of Virginia is located within one day’s drive of two-thirds of the nation’s population and regularly serves vessels in excess of 14,000 TEUs. The port is mid-way through a $695 million expansion project that will increase annual container capacity by 40 percent by 2020. It has 50’ deep channels and recently received approval to deepen its channels to 55’ and widen to 1,300’.

About AAPA
Founded in 1912 and recognized as the unified voice of seaports in the Americas, AAPA today represents 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 200 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. According to 
IHS Markit’s World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2017 totaled 4.303 billion metric tons in volume and US$2.675 trillion in value. Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.741 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$1.024 trillion, while North American ports handled 1.90 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.305 trillion. To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.  For more information, visit On Twitter:

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