Marine Economists Hold Annual Conference in U.S. for 1st Time

USC professor Geraldine Knatz leading a session on container terminal automation during the International Association of Maritime Economists Conference in Long Beach, Calif. Photo courtesy of IAME.

The 2023 International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) Conference took place Sept. 5-8 in Long Beach, Calif., marking the first time that the event has been held on U.S. soil. 

IAME, a Belgium-based nonprofit that was founded in 1992 and has more than 300 members across all seven continents, holds yearly conferences hosted by different institutions. It also supports other conferences that share its goals. 

Those goals, according to the organization, include promotion of the development of maritime economics as a distinct discipline, encouraging rational and reasoned discussion within it, and to facilitate the international exchange of ideas and research. 

Toward that goal, IAME is affiliated with two renowned academic journals: Maritime Policy & Management and Maritime Economics & Logistics. Additionally, the Association releases a regular newsletter, which contains various news items related to upcoming events and research. 

This year’s conference was presented by the METRANS Transportation Consortium, a joint partnership of the University of Southern California (USC) and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). 

For the conference, the colleges provided a forum for researchers, policymakers and practitioners to reimagine and shape the industry. The event was attended by an estimated 167 individuals from every continent, representing organizations worldwide. 

The conference featured a keynote speech by Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero as well as seven panels: Back from the Abyss: Cruise Industry Recovery and Destination Stewardship; Consumers Driving Choice; Hinterland Connectivity; Maritime Services Scheduling; Green Ports & Shipping; Global Port Solutions; and Regional Case Studies in Decarbonization. 

Each panel also had five subsections covering more than 150 topics and speakers. Subsection topics during the event included the impacts of COVID-19 on the cruise industry; decision making process in port electrification in medium sized ports; optimizing container terminal operations; and improving maritime cybersecurity using drones. 

IAME’s 2024 conference is scheduled to be held in Valencia, Spain, with the ValenciaPort Chair sponsoring the meeting, which is scheduled for the University of Valencia. 

Near the conclusion of the event, there was a ceremonial passing of the flag, with former Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, who’s now a professor at USC, presenting a flag emblazoned with IAME’s logo, to an official from the University of Valencia. 

The organization is currently in the process of determining where its 2025 conference will take place.    

Alexander Hickethier can be reached at