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Chairman of the Papers Committee for the 10th International Harbour Master Associations Congress, Captain Yoss Leclerc, current Vice-President and Chief of Marine Operations, Québec Port Authority sat down with us to discuss the themes that we can expect to be examined at the Congress, trends and developments in port expansion in Canada, what kind of topics he is looking to include on the Congress agenda and what he expects to be some of the highlights of holding the 10th IHMA Congress in Vancouver.
‘Port Expansion – The Challenges’ is the theme of the Congress. What central themes and keynote topics can we expect to be discussed?
Well, we’ve been talking about that for a long time; port expansion is the new reality today. The trade is growing, there is a lot of pressure on the port to handle bigger vessels, more traffic and this will bring along a lot of changes in terms of social acceptability’s, environmental mitigation, and communication with different stakeholders. Even as a port itself, ensuring that you are going to have the resources at the organisational level to be able to handle the growth, facility perspective around that, the security perspective around the project and also the financing. This very broad theme will address these aspects into the port expansion.
Can you give us some examples of what port expansion can include?
Port expansion can be as easy as a new dock or expanding the dock or a very complex expansion project like we have seen around the world where we build islands from nothing where we are able to handle containers or any other commodities. The magnitude can be very different. Expansion means; planning, strategy planning, tactical planning, resources, and budgets – it is a huge commitment from the port authority as an organisation but it is also a huge effort of collaboration with the marine stakeholders. As you know, port authorities host operators, terminals, service provider, they also, for a lot of ports, are in cities or in municipalities, and it’s the whole collaboration and integration with all the stakeholders that makes the difference.
What have you seen as trends and developments in port expansion in Canada over the last decade?
In Canada over the last decade the major improvement was the visibility around the supply chain. For years and years ports were really dealing at the local level, but today when you look at ports, port expansion or even the day to day operation, it’s the whole supply chain that is important. It’s the rail support system, the road access, it’s the terminal capacity that will be able to handle the growth and it is the whole cooperation that was not there ten years ago or 15 years ago. Also, the other aspect of it is really the social awareness and the social involvement around the port where today a project needs to be communicated a long time before it happens. There is a full process of communication that was not as big as it is today.
As Chairman of the papers committee, what are you looking for from submissions?
First of all it is the presentations with case studies that will be able to provide real experience from different harbour masters around the world, from different ports around the world. Then we have keynote speakers providing a full overview of the marine trade and the marine operations in Canada. We will also have an exhibition providing new systems, new technologies, it is going to be very amazing, an amazing time to be in Vancouver, I can guarantee you that.
What will be some of the highlights attendees can expect from the 2016 IHMA Congress in Vancouver?
The first thing will be the amazing scenery that they are going to have here! It is amazing to see a port operating with over 140million tonnes every year coming through the port, billions of dollars moving in and out and witness the full activities around the port. It will be important also to meet and greet the Canadian Harbour Masters. They have a lot of expertise and a lot of things to share here. There will be the opportunity also to meet with the regulatory agencies and to really see how Canadian ports operate and things that we can learn from each other.
Captain Leclerc, along with the remainder of the esteemed Congress Papers’ Committee, will soon decide on the final program for the 2016 IHMA Congress. We look forward to sharing this with you in the coming weeks and hope to meet you in Vancouver next year.
For the full recording of this interview with Captain Leclerc please view the video below.