Scholars to meet in Mombasa to discuss maritime stakes

Maritime economists will meet in Mombasa for an annual conference.

Some 130 research papers are expected to be presented in the forthcoming 26th International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) conference to be held next month.

The event brings together researchers and other professionals from all over the world.

The academics will discuss current research topics and contribute to the development of maritime economics and management. Lead Scientific Organiser Michael Dooms of the University of Brussels in Belgium said 85 full papers and 45 abstracts have been accepted.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is the main sponsor of the event which takes place for the first time in Africa.

KPA is expected to offer logistical and administrative support.

The conference, whose theme is Sustainable Maritime, Port and Logistics Industries in Emerging Economies: Towards a Path of Blue Growth, seeks to delve deeper into the blue economy which has been identified as a future driver of sustainable growth across traditional sectors such as food, energy, tourism and leisure.

The meeting seeks to develop solutions, through research findings, on a number of topics including the development of ports, shipping and logistics markets in Africa including both freight and cruise related markets, exploring the concept of the blue economy and blue growth.

KPA is keen to leverage on the meeting to put Mombasa port in the international limelight and provide an opportunity to market it as the preferred destination for cargo in the region.

The local organising committee, which has been meeting since January, confirmed that preparations were in top gear to ensure a successful and productive session.

“A number of private companies in the maritime sector have also agreed to come on board and partner with us,” local organising committee chairman Martin Mutuku said. “We are working around the clock, meeting frequently to finalise on the finer details of the conference,” he added.

Kenya becomes the first African country to host the event after winning the bid against other six leading ports among them Port of Durban, Port of Lagos, Port of Abidjan, Suez Port and Port of Djibouti.

In Kenya, the blue economy is critical to the attainment of the Vision 2030 development blueprint.


The conference will host participants from diverse fields in the maritime sector notably Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), Port Management Association for Eastern and Southern Africa, (PMAESA), the Shipping Council of Kenya, shipping lines, and select local universities.

IAME is an international forum for the exchange of information and research among stakeholders in the maritime industry.

It was founded in 1992 and has become the most prominent society of scholars with interest in maritime economics, which includes ports, shipping and hinterland transport.

The 25th annual conference was held in Kyoto, Japan, last year where a delegation of representatives from the KMA and KPA attended.

Among the issues discussed was the lack of information on Japan’s large maritime sector which is vital in innovation.

More than 150 research papers were presented in Kyoto in parallel sessions dealing with major challenges facing ports, shipping and maritime logistics.

IAME members come from a variety of research backgrounds, primarily economists and management, but also from logistics, finance, engineering, and sociology.

KPA has in the recent past hosted regional and international conferences including the Intermodal Africa Conference and the International Investment Forum.

Kenya was also the first African country to host the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in 2016. The IAME 2019 conference will take place in Athens, Greece.