IAME 2021 Rotterdam was amidst Covid-19 a successful conference, at the right time, at the right place. 25, 26 and 27 November 2021 researchers from all over the world joined either physically or virtually in Rotterdam. The conference theme, Accelerating Transitions was also right on spot. Amidst the climate crisis, the digital revolution, geopolitical shifts and on top of that unexpected disruptions like the pandemic, it is of utmost important to develop the right insights and ideas, helping our world leaders to make the right decisions.
The kick-off with a very interesting panel with top leaders in the Dutch maritime and port sector underlined the huge challenges the sectors face. Following this, during the three days conference, we tackled a variety of topics relevant to the transitions that the maritime sector will have to make: on the ins and outs of digitalizing the maritime chain, on the future of alternative fuels, but also a critical reflection on the role the IMO can play in enforcing real steps in the greening of maritime shipping. Work to do there! And it was good to see that the hybrid format worked out quite well: there were many interactions with the delegates online. It takes some technics, but it added greatly to the feeling of a complete IAME community engaged.
Besides economics, we also addressed the more technical side of the actual transitions: f.e. in sessions on autonomous shipping. Clear message is that progress is been made fast and that it needs the involvement of many actors to get it implemented and developed further. One could even get a view on it live at the Innovation Fair, providing the researchers the chance to see what innovations are developed in the Rotterdam Port Innovation Ecosystem.
At the closing ceremony, in the tradition of IAME, three awards have been given for best papers. The MEL Palgrave best paper award went to Coen van Battum, the KLU Young Researcher award to Lucie Letrouit, and the MPM Best Paper award to Michael Prehn and Fredrico Jensen.
And lastly, the port tour showed the participants the evolution of the port of Rotterdam to its actual status of a large scale modern port complex, full of automation and full in transition. A pleasant boat ride provided opportunity to take some magnificent pictures with the evening falling and all lights coming up in the port. How beautiful our field of study can be!
We look very much forward to the next IAME conferences to continue the discussions.