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News Release
FOR RELEASE - September 11, 2019
Contact: Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director,
(703) 684-5700

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

First-, Last-Mile Infrastructure Among Featured Topics at AAPA 2019 Convention

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 general session discussing first- and last-mile freight transportation infrastructure. These are typically road and rail connections in which port authorities have little control, but a vested interest in, ensuring cargo movement efficiency, especially during peak shipping times.

Titled "Outside the Gate Fluidity," executives representing a global transportation platform underpinned by blockchain technology, a major U.S. port authority alliance, a statewide ports association and two state Departments of Transportation will come together to discuss how to facilitate efficient cargo flows outside of a port authority’s direct jurisdiction.

Leading the discussion will be Tom Sproat, senior director of Network Development for Maersk GTD, the collaboration partner along with IBM for TradeLens. Mr. Sproat will discuss opportunities the digitization of the global supply chains will have ‘outside the gates.’ A connected ecosystem of customers, port authorities and inland carriers has the potential for numerous benefits. including asset management. “It starts with data and the sharing of information, what we will do with that data will determine the efficiencies we can drive as an industry,” said Mr. Sproat. “We can’t just replicate what exits today in a digital format, we need to look at new ways of working”.

Among the trio of panellists who will share the stage with Mr. Sproat is Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council, representing 14 Florida seaports. Mr. Wheeler will discuss the importance of first and last mile intermodal connectivity and how Florida ports work with the Florida Department of Transportation to address those capacity and connectivity infrastructure needs.

Mr. Wheeler stated: "Over the past 10 years, the Florida Ports Council has actively fought for a multimodal approach to federal transportation funding. Goods come in and go out through our seaports, however, an efficient network of first and last mile connectivity is key to moving people and good to their destination.”

Also speaking on Florida's efforts to bolster its seaport system will be Dan Fitz-Patrick, Seaport Office manager for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Mr. Fitz-Patrick will provide an overview of the State of Florida's on-port and near-port programs which seek to optimize the state's waterborne freight supply chains. He said: "When I’ve explained FDOT's role in seaports to attendees at previous American Association of Port Authorities events, attendees from other states are often amazed at the level of support the State of Florida plays in seaport development activities. My participation on a panel at the 2019 convention will be an opportunity for me to showcase Florida's seaport programs to a wider audience."

Another panellist will be John Wolfe, CEO of the Tacoma/Seattle port authority coalition known as The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA). Mr. Wolfe will discuss how the NWSA is working together with the Washington State Department of Transportation to improve freight mobility and incorporate the needs of ports and the freight network into the broader transportation system.

The fourth panellist is Roger Millar, Washington State’s Secretary of Transportation. Secretary Millar will discuss the important role transportation systems and technology play in moving goods to and from ports. “As one of the most trade-centric states in the nation and a key link to international markets, we know it’s crucial to not only have strong ports but also the first mile, last mile connections that keep goods moving,” he said. “We recognize that the future of transportation relies on keeping our highways and rail facilities in a state of good repair as well as deploying new technologies to further increase intermodal efficiency throughout the freight network.”

Among the convention’s sponsors are CSX, a leading supplier of North American rail-based freight transportation, and TT Club, the international logistics industry’s leading provider of insurance and related risk management services.

Carl Warren, Director, Port Development for CSX Transportation, said: “CSX is a critical link in the global supply chain with its rail network connecting to 70 ocean, lake and river ports in North America. Ports are key partners to CSX’s success, and we’re proud to be a sponsor of this year’s convention.”

Leo Kirchner, Americas regional director at the TT Club said: “The TT Club is proud to participate in the 108th AAPA Convention in Norfolk, Va., and again sponsor the attendee name badges. The TT Club’s origin can be traced back to the dawn of containerization in 1968 and its membership over the half-century since has grown to include some of the world’s largest shipping lines, busiest ports, global and domestic logistics operators and freight forwarders, and most significant cargo handling terminals. We salute the AAPA and The Port of Virginia for again hosting this important industry event and look forward attending the many sessions and the networking opportunities the event provides.”

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, coastal resiliency, 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 on the convention website.


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


In addition to its robust business program, AAPA’s 108th Annual Convention and Expo will feature an exhibit hall full of port industry goods and service providers, subject matter experts, professional development attractions and a host of interactive activities, as well as the location for the reception to showcase AAPA’s 2020 Annual Convention and Expo, hosted by the Québec Port Authority.


The convention runs Oct. 13-16, with open business sessions all day Oct. 15 and 16. The Québec Port Authority reception is slated from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15.


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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