Portugal’s vibrant maritime sector is heading full steam ahead for the first-ever Portugal Shipping Week which will be an important port call on the country’s voyage to becoming a leader in the international shipping industry.
Portugal Shipping Week will take place in Lisbon from September 17 to 21 and will feature a number of high-profile events which will allow Portugal to celebrate its maritime prowess, showcase its premier seafaring facilities and highlight the importance it places on its shipping sector and Blue Economy.
Anticipating a “constructive and productive week”, Portuguese Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, says: “During this week Portugal becomes the centre of discussion and networking for the international port industry and shipping community, inviting the maritime world to discover the massive potential that this country offers in these sectors, as it creates a privileged circumstance to stimulate new partnerships and businesses.”
A key focus of the Portuguese Government is the strategic economic potential of its Blue Economy, which exceeded €5bn in 2017. To support the continued development of its maritime sector the Government has:
Introduced a tonnage tax scheme to bring Portugal into line with the competitive conditions that exist in most European countries
Modernised its maritime administration systems
Improved the efficiency of registration under the Madeira flag
Accepted electronic statutory certification on board its vessels
Fully supported sustainable green shipping initiatives
Committed to growing national ports, and
Developed a world-class digital port management system, the Janela Unica Portuaria.
Portugal is currently awaiting the approval which will allow it to extend the limits of its continental shelf. When approved, this will increase the Portuguese Maritime Area to 3,877,000 km2 – meaning Portugal will have the sixth largest Exclusive Economic Zone in Europe and the 20th in the world.
The Government’s ultimate goal is to turn Portugal into a logistics hub of excellence in Europe. Latest market figures show Portuguese ports registered record cargo volumes of 95.9 million tons in 2017 –a 2.2% year on year increase. The same year also stands out for delivering the highest value ever in container handling, with a record TEU 3 million. These results are unparalleled in Europe. Indeed, over the past 10 years, Portugal’s growth of containerised cargo has reached 180% and the national growth target from 2016 to 2026, is set at a 200% increase in the handling of containerised cargo, and 88% in the total cargo volume.
To achieve this impressive maritime development, the Portuguese Government is investing €2.5billion in projects supporting port and logistics activities, 83% of which involve private investment, 11% public investment, and 6% EU support.
In addition, Portugal’s national ports have become increasingly important to the burgeoning global cruise sector. Last year Portugal was voted Best European Cruise Port by the World Travel Awards for the second consecutive year, while the city of Lisbon was voted ‘Best City Destination’ for the third time, and the island of Madeira the ‘World’s Leading Island Destination’ in Europe.
If estimates for 2018 are fulfilled, this may be the best year ever in the cruise business for Portugal, with records broken in the number of ship stopovers and passengers. An important element of the inaugural Portugal Shipping Week is the 12th edition of Seatrade Cruise Med, one of the world’s largest cruise trade fairs.
Minister Vitorino said Portugal Shipping Week “will be a starting point for new relations, new businesses and new ideas to effectively and responsibly manage the ocean that belongs to us all.”
Portugal Shipping Week will comprise a week-long series of Government and industry events – including top-level conferences and seminars, informative port and ship visits, vibrant round tables and valuable networking –intended to promote the Blue Economy, support international environmental initiatives, and to drive global trade.
Highlights of the week include:
Ministerial Opening Reception
Portugal Shipping Week Flagship Conference
GALP Atlantic Meeting
Oceans Meeting ministerial event 2018
Seatrade Cruise Med Conference and Exhibition
EMSA Open Days
Technical field trip to the Port of Sines, Portugal’s main container, refining and LNG centre, and
On-board ship and bunker barge visits
With less than a week left to go, delegate spaces are filling fast. For reservation information please visit the event website: www.portugalshippingweek.com
Minister Vitorino said: “I take great pleasure in welcoming to Portugal all the participants of the first ever Portugal Shipping Week.”