Global conference brings executives from ports around the world to Los Angeles

A container is off loaded from a ship at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, California on May 12, 2010.
A container is off loaded from a ship at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, California on May 12, 2010.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The International Association of Ports and Harbors  (IAPH) world conference is bringing representatives from more than 200 ports and 150 maritime businesses worldwide to downtown Los Angeles this week.   Directors or board presidents from 88 ports in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Mideast, Australia and the Americas are expected to be among the delegates.

Headquartered in Tokyo, the IAPH is a nonprofit association.  Its member ports handle more than sixty percent of the world's sea-borne trade and nearly 80 percent of the world’s containerized cargo. 

The delegates will attend sessions on a range of issues facing ports and the maritime industry. Tuesday’s agenda includes a keynote address by retired Captain Richard Phillips, who was taken hostage by Somali pirates 4 years ago,  and a session entitled “Planning for the Unplanned,” which features Richard Larrabee, Director of Commerce  of  the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey on recovering from Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane closed the New York/New Jersey port complex for a week just weeks ahead of the start of last year's holiday shopping season. 

Also on Tuesday, Sung Won Sohn, economist and Vice Chairman of apparel company Forever 21, will discuss “new realities in a global economy.”    The Port of LA is the busiest in the U.S. in terms of container volumes, but faces increasing competition for cargo traffic from ports on the east coast.

Wednesday's offerings include a session on zero emissions strategies at Ports and the emergence of liquefied natural gas as both a a fuel and cargo for container ships. 

“Los Angeles will be the stage for ports worldwide to convene, share best practices, advance our industry agenda and learn about the latest trends and issues facing our industry,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said in a statement.  

The World Ports conference will conclude on Friday with a tour of the Port of Los Angeles.