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Published: 15 February 2017      

PEMA concludes AGM

The Port Equipment Manufactures Association (PEMA) concluded its AGM in London last week with a call for cross-industry discussion on vessel sizes and “expectations for delivery times”.

In light of the pending Brexit, London might not have been the most auspicious location for an industry organisation with a membership predominately drawn from European companies to hold its AGM.
The event was sponsored by cable supplier Tratos (one of the few PEMA members that does manufacture in the UK for the international market), who invited the UK Minister for Transport, Rt Hon John Hayes CBE MP, and George Howarth, MP for Knowsley, home to Tratos' UK manufacturing base. A dinner at the House of Commons was hosted by Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire.

The UK imports the vast majority of its port equipment and while this is unlikely to change post Brexit, ports could face higher costs, particularly for spare parts, if Brexit leads to protectionist measures on imports. In his opening remarks the Minister forecast an “era of investment” in port equipment as deep sea ports become more important to the UK. Observing the audience the Minister would have noted how heavily the UK’s ports rely on imported equipment. 

The wider issues for PEMA include how the changing shape of the liner industry will impact demand for equipment, and what role PEMA members might play in facilitating a move to better coordinated ‘digital’ supply chains. At the moment manufacturers are being pulled in several directions, there is no real connection between demands for higher productivity and greater energy efficiency, for example. Neither is there any real willingness on the part of shipping lines to recognise the limitations of port equipment systems as they seek to lower their own costs by deploying huge vessels.

In a statement PEMA president Ottonel Popesco said: “To function more effectively, port equipment manufacturers, ports and shippers need to establish an open dialogue in which challenges are tackled holistically. The industry needs a platform from which it can effect change and PEMA should be that platform.” 

In a statement PEMA noted that speakers addressing the AGM “urged port manufacturers to agree a common position on optimal sizes of ships for given routes and customer’s delivery-time expectations, to optimise the supply chain”. It will be intersting to see how PEMA responds, particularly to the issue of delivery time expectations as these are a competitive force in the market. 

PEMA members re-elected Ottonel Popesco (Cavotec) and Mika Mahlberg (Konecranes) president and vice president respectively; and Michael Eckle (Conductix Wampler), Achim Dries (Vahle) and Jens Koering (Treasurer) were elected to the PEMA Board. Maurizio Bragagni (Vice president), and Mike Dempsey were confirmed as members of the PEMA board. 

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