KPA to host maiden International Maritime Conference  

Kyoto – June 28, 2017

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will host  the 26th International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) Conference which will be held in Kenya and in Africa for the first time next year.

IAME President Dr. Jan Hoffman made the announcement on Wednesday during the official opening of the 25th IAME conference at a hotel in Kyoto, Japan.


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IAME President Dr. Jan Hoffman (C), Conference Chairperson Prof. Dr. Masato Shinohara (R) and KPA's Head of Corporate Development Mr. Martin Mutuku share some light moments on the sidelines of the conference.

"Next year IAME will hold its annual conference in Mombasa – the first time we meet on the African continent and another reflection of the truly global nature of maritime transport and our association," said Dr. Hoffmann.


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A section of the IAME delegates pose for a group photo during the pre-conference workshop on port performance of the 25th IAME Conference in Kyoto, Japan.

To show the commitment, KPA's Head of Corporate Development Mr. Martin Mutuku was co-opted as an IAME council member at Tuesday's council meeting where the progress of next year's conference was very positively evaluated. 

As the main local sponsor, the Authority is expected to offer logistical and administrative support, leading the marketing and communication efforts and assist in securing participation of major institutional parties.

The Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) have also pledged their support for the event.

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KPA's Head of Corporate Development Mr. Martin Mutuku (R) and KMA's Research and Business Development Officer Mr. Juma Ahmed Ali follow proceedings of the 25th IAME conference in Kyoto, Japan.

Prof. Michael Dooms of the University of Brussels (VUB) in Belgium is the lead scientific organiser alongside a group of respected university scholars from Kenyan universities.

On Friday, the association's flag will be handed over to KPA as the main sponsor of the 26th IAME conference. Mr. Mutuku who is accompanied at the Kyoto conference by Senior Communications Officer (Internal Communication and Publications) Mr Jones Buchere and Statistician Mr. Eric Katana will represent the KPA Managing Director Mrs. Catherine Mturi-Wairi during the ceremony.

The theme of this year's conference is "Maritime Transport Quality in the Evolving World Trade."

Hoffmann said IAME was honoured and happy to hold its annual conference in Kyoto on its 25th anniversary.   

"Our association celebrates twenty-five years of service to a community of researchers and practitioners in port and shipping economics. With two associated maritime journals, numerous networking tools, and our annual global conference, IAME has shown to be the premier association for those of us who are passionate about research and teaching in maritime economics," he added. `          

Speaking during the meeting, Mr. Masaharu Shinohara, Executive Officer, Kobe –Osaka International Port Corporation who is also the Vice President International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) said the conference was expected to contribute to the better understanding and analysis of the global maritime industry.

"As a member of the local organising committee and one of the major sponsors as well as representing local maritime industry, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the guests and participants in the IAME Conference 2017. You might wonder why we have chosen Kyoto as a maritime conference venue. In fact until 150 years ago, Kyoto was connected to the sea port of Osaka via river transport network," said Mr. Shinohara.

Addressing the delegates, the Conference Chairperson Prof. Dr. Masato Shinohara observed that Japan had a large maritime cluster but the practitioners in the industry were not outspoken enough which results in the lack of information about it.

"We have therefore made effort to invite as many practitioners as possible to the conference so that researchers can ask questions and exchange views with those who are at the front of maritime innovation," he said. 

The hundreds of delegates attending the conference had a commemorative session in memory of the late Prof. Richard Goss and the late Prof. Ross Robinson, two great IAME contributors and scholars who passed on in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

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A section of the delegates at a parallel session on Cruise Shipping.

On Friday the delegates will have the opportunity to tour the Port of Kobe and Osaka.

"The Port is a unique example of privatisation strategy combining two ports for management by creating a new private company, while the ownership of the ports remaining in the hands of each municipality," said Prof. Masato Shinohara.     

Between the opening and closing ceremony more than 150 original research papers will be presented in parallel sessions dealing with the major challenges of ports, shipping and maritime logistics.                      

ABOUT IAME and the Conference

IAME was founded in 1992 and has now become the most prominent academic society of scholars with an interest in maritime economics, which includes ports, shipping and hinterland transport.

 IAME members come from a variety of research backgrounds, primarily economists and management, but also from logistics, finance, engineering, sociology among others.

 The annual IAME Conference is an opportunity for the academics to meet and discuss current research topics and contribute to the development of maritime economics and management disciplines.