ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA. The US Section of the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC USA) partnered with the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute on the PORTS 2016 Conference, which was held June 12-15, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The theme of the conference was “Ports: Gateways to a World of Opportunities”, and attendance was excellent with over 600 participants.
PIANC USA First Delegate, the Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy (Assistant Secretary of the Army – Civil Works), spoke at the Opening Plenary Session. She introduced PIANC to this broad audience, emphasizing the benefits of participation in international technical working groups. She also discussed in some detail PIANC’s Think Climate Initiative and the “Navigating a Changing Climate” Action Plan. She encouraged all to learn more about PIANC, and specifically invited everyone to attend the PIANC Technical Breakfast during the conference.
The PIANC Technical Breakfast was held on Tuesday morning, and it attracted a room full of people. The program was kicked off by Ms. Darcy and PIANC USA President Major General Donald E. Jackson, US Army Corps of Engineers, gave an introduction to PIANC. PIANC USA Commissioners Nick Pansic of MWH Global (now part of Stantec), Mike Leone of HNTB and retired Director of the Port of Boston, and Ron Coles, Principal of W.R. Coles & Associates, led a panel discussion focused on PIANC Task Group 181 – The State and Perspectives of Waterborne Transport Infrastructure Worldwide. Nick Pansic presented the TG 181 Charter and preliminary results, and participants were given a short questionnaire requesting their input and views on the Future of Waterborne Transport Infrastructure. Ron Coles discussed the economic value of inland waterway transport, with reference to a case study of transporting rocket engines on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Mike Leone discussed the challenges of preparing ports for larger ships and more cargo, using the Port of Miami as a case study. A general discussion followed. PIANC USA Young Professional (YP) representatives Andrew Thomas and Chris Siverd took the opportunity to talk about the YP Commission and the upcoming national technical visits in Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland.
Later in the conference, PIANC USA Environmental Commission Representative, Dr. Todd Bridges, spoke on the conference Closing Plenary Session Panel. The topic was Resilience, which gave Dr. Bridges the chance to discuss the new PIANC Task Group 193, Resilience of the Maritime and Inland Waterborne Transport System.
Continuing the long tradition of excellence as the premier port engineering conference series in North America, Ports 2016 was the 14th in the series of international port and harbor development specialty conferences held every three years since 1977. PIANC USA will again partner with ASCE-COPRI on the next Ports Conference, scheduled for September 15-18, 2019, in Pittsburgh, PA.
For more information, visit www.iwr.usace.army.mil & www.pianc.us.
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PIANC USA was organized in 1902 with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) serving as the Secretariat. Membership is comprised of engineers, scientists, economists, planners, dredgers, port operators, regulators, and marina and vessel owners. The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) and the USACE Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations serve as liaisons to the U.S. National Commission.