AAPA Seaports Advisory

Latin American Ports Debate Globalization and Protectionism in Punta del Este

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The 26th edition of the AAPA Latin American Congress of Ports strengthened its status as the premier port conference in Latin America by gathering over 350 participants from more than 30 countries and four continents last week in Punta del Este, Uruguay. This year, "Latin American Ports between Globalization and Protectionism" served as the theme for the summit.


Alberto Diaz, President of ANP Uruguay, during opening ceremonies

Forty-four speakers from 15 different countries debated the consequences of the resurgence of protectionism for Latin America. While it was evident that the speakers seemed optimistic about regional trade outlooks and agreed that globalizing processes would continue, they emphasized the need to promote regional integration and defend the value and advantages of free trade to the public. They also identified a larger and more imminent challenge to the region’s ports to be the rapid concentration of the ocean carrier industry.

Other panels at the Congress showcased Latin American projects, examined the logistical potential of South American interior waterways, highlighted new port technologies and shared best practices and green operations for bulk terminals.


Concluding panel featuring roundtable discussion of regional port leaders

Two candidates – Álvaro Tanco and Schubert Méndez, both from the National Port Administration of Uruguay (ANP) – received their PPM Latino certificates during the Congress, raising the total number of graduates from the program to 31 in the 12 years of its existence.

PPM Latino candidates receive their diplomas and certificates in Punta del Este

In addition, the Latin American Congress of Ports recognized John LaRue, Executive Director of the Port of Corpus Christi, for his support of AAPA’s Latin American Delegation and contributions in benefit of Western Hemisphere ports.

 John LaRue, second from right, receives an award of recognition from Rafael Díaz-Balart, Kurt Nagle and Alberto Díaz (left to right) for his support of AAPA's Latin American Delegation

"Punta del Este was an excellent place to celebrate the Congress due to its unique location at the intersection of one of the Hemisphere’s main river highways, the Río de la Plata, and the maritime routes of the Atlantic Ocean," commented Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of AAPA. "Furthermore, Punta del Este as a tourist destination has been welcoming people from around the world for many years."

"Programs such as this give us the opportunity to strengthen the relationships among our four delegations and to explore important issues that impact the Americas. By sharing ideas and best practices, collaborating and networking, we can overcome the common challenges that create obstacles for the efficient movement of cargo through our ports," he added.

"We wish to thank Victor Rossi of Uruguay’s Ministry of Transport and Public Works and Alberto Díaz of the National Port Administration of Uruguay (ANP) for their outstanding support and excellent work in organizing such an important event," stated Rafael Díaz-Balart, AAPA’s Latin American Coordinator. "We are extremely pleased with participation at the Congress, with attendees and high-quality speakers from almost every corner of the world enjoying the Uruguayans’ warm hospitality."


Victor Rossi, Uruguayan Minister of Transport and Public Works, presents his vision for the country's port system

Participants also had the opportunity to visit the Port of Montevideo, the country’s largest port on the Río de la Plata, and took a tour of Punta del Este’s sights, which included its famous "The Hand" sculpture by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal and the "Casapueblo" building complex by Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró.

Next year the 27th edition of the Latin American Congress of Ports will be combined with the 2018 AAPA Annual Convention and take place in Valparaíso, Chile, from October 21 to 24.


Members of AAPA's Latin American Delegation following their meeting in Punta del Este


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