Port law between globalisation and deglobalisation – ECMLR 2020 – Ghent, 10-11 September 2020

Content and purpose

On 10 and 11 September 2020, the prestigious European Colloquia on Maritime Law Research or ECMLR will for the first time be held in Belgium, at the University of Ghent, a beautiful port and art city with a centuries-old tradition.

The theme of the 11th edition of the ECMLR is ‘Port law between globalisation and deglobalisation. Trade, migration, competition, pricing, liability and labour aspects of port and port terminal operations considered from an international and European perspective’. In other words, the event will focus on current issues of port law, including port-related aspects of maritime, economic, international and EU law.

Increasing international uncertainty about security, trade policy and migration inevitably affects the legal rules governing the operation of ports, which are vital gateways to countries, peoples and economies. This manifests itself in a wide variety of issues, such as access to ports for foreign investors, access to ports for migrant ships, the delayed entry into force of the Rotterdam Rules which imply a new liability regime for port terminal operators, or the response of competition authorities and courts to the charging of demurrage and detention.

More specifically, the organisers aim to offer international and national perspectives on issues such as:

  • International law on freedom of access to ports, including access to ports for foreign investors, the position of migrant ships and international embargoes;
  • Port-related charges, including port dues, terminal, pilotage, towage and mooring fees;
  • Demurrage and detention in container shipping as considered by competition authorities and courts;
  • Liabilities of terminal operators, port authorities and all other port-related service providers such as VTS, pilotage, towage, mooring services, shipping agents, freight forwarders, etc., as well as liabilities of port users;
  • The organisation of port labour, more specifically the implications of recent EU and national court judgments and policies relating to the rights of port labour pool agencies;
  • Any other recent port law developments.

The previous editions of ECMLR were organised by leading maritime law institutes in Athens, Bilbao, Bologna, Messina/Palermo, Oslo, Ravenna, Rotterdam, Southampton, Swansea and Torun. The Ghent colloquium is organised by PORTIUS and the Maritime Institute of Ghent University and will be supported by the Belgian Maritime Law Association. This is a special edition because for the first time ECMLR wil focus on legal aspects of port and port terminal management and operations.

Call for papers

Several international authorities have already committed themselves to contribute. The organisers would like to invite additional authors to submit proposals for contributions via eric@portius.org and to prepare their paper before the colloquium. In the tradition of ECMLR, we particularly encourage academics from European institutes to report on their work. However, other proposals are certainly welcome. Proposals will be evaluated by the relevant professors at the universities of Ghent, Oslo and Southampton. The contributions will be published in book form so that the proceedings will have a lasting value. Papers may cover international, European and national regimes, including regulation, case law and legal doctrine and may focus on shipping law, international public law, competition law or any other relevant aspects of port-related law. International and comparative analysis is strongly encouraged. The language of the colloquium and papers is English.

Call for sponsors

The organisers of this prestigious non-profit congress offer all interested authorities, professional organisations, companies and law firms the opportunity to present themselves to an important international audience. This sponsorship is necessary to cover expenses such as travel and accommodation of invited speakers, room hire, catering, receptions and the publication of the conference book. Previous ECMLR events received enthusiastic support from important national and local maritime and port-related institutions, associations, companies and law firms, and of course we hope that this will also be the case this time.

We offer you several interesting formulas to become a unique Main Sponsor, a Platinum Sponsor, a Gold Sponsor or a Silver Sponsor. In return for a modest amount we offer, depending on the formula, prominent mention as sponsor in all communications and publications as well as at the venue, one or more delegate registrations and one or more copies of the conference book.

The following formulas are offered:

  • Main sponsor (based on exclusivity and first come, first served basis): 15,000 EUR (prominent mention as main sponsor in all communications and publications as well as at the venue, five free delegate registrations, ten copies of the conference book);
  • Platinum sponsor: 5,000 EUR (prominent mention as a platinum sponsor in all communication and publications as well as at the venue, three free delegate registrations, four copies of the conference book);
  • Gold sponsor: 2,500 EUR (prominent mention as a silver sponsor in all communication and publications as well as at the venue, two free delegate registrations, three copies of the conference book);
  • Silver sponsor: 1,000 EUR (prominent mention as a sponsor in all communications and publications as well as at the venue, one free delegate registration, two copies of the conference book).

If you are interested, please contact PORTIUS via eric@portius.org or +32 3 238 67 14 to confirm your interest or discuss the possibilities.

Professional training schemes for lawyers

The organizers will apply for the recognition of the event as part of the professional continuing professional development schemes for Flemish lawyers operated by the Order of Flemish Bars (Orde van Vlaamse Balies) and the Institute of Company Lawyers (Instituut voor Bedrijfsjuristen). On that basis, the participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

More information

For more information about the 11th ECMLR, please contact Professor Eric Van Hooydonk, chairman of Portius and member of the Maritime Institute, via eric@portius.org or +32 3 238 67 14.

Click on the following links for more information about the University of Ghent, its Maritime Institute, visiting the city of Ghent and previous editions of the ECMLR.

Ghent is the second largest city in Flanders and its university the second largest in the country. Ghent is a beautiful historical city and has an important international port, which is connected to the sea via the Scheldt.

Ghent is easily accessible by all means of transport. A frequent direct train takes you from Brussels airport to Ghent’s main train station (Gent-Sint-Pieters) in less than an hour.

The conference centre ‘Het Pand’ is an old Dominican monastery located in the heart of the city on the banks of the river Leie, near the medieval port with the guildhalls and warehouses as its remnants. Click here for more history.