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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Business & Industry
Breakbulk Americas Conference
News Release
Friday, October 20, 2017

Breakbulk Americas 2017 Attracts Entire Industrial Supply Chain

Breakbulk Americas 2017 hosted a record number of attendees in Houston, TX, this week, with representatives from the entire industrial supply chain for project development. The event, now in its 28th year, took place at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Attendees at the event heard from expert speakers from around the world about the top trends and challenges facing the industrial supply chain industry in the associated conference, and made connections with international exhibitors. Specialists from the industry spoke about the potential of Big Data and the pressing need for modernization of the sector. Trade compliance experts provided guidance on how to ensure project excellence, while alerting the sector to the next set of trade sanctions on the horizon.

In a well-attended conference session, Susan Oatway, lead analyst for multipurpose shipping at Drewry Shipping Consultants, gave a positive medium-term outlook for the sector: “The improvements in many other key drivers for this market mean we remain optimistic about its future. The expectations for global GDP, coupled with those for global PMI and the rising oil price, are likely to lead to improved investment and therefore increased demand for breakbulk and project cargo.”

The event venue, the George R. Brown Convention Center, played a pivotal role after Hurricane Harvey hit, temporarily housing as many as 12,000 displaced residents immediately after the catastrophe. Despite damage to the surrounding Houston community, local participants demonstrated their resilience at Breakbulk Americas, confirming that “it’s business as usual.”

“Hurricane Harvey was an absolute nightmare, but I am thankful to see our Houston community come together and restoration efforts are in full force,” Breakbulk Americas event director, Christian Thompson said. “Breakbulk Americas will provide the perfect atmosphere to gather all colleagues and recognize how our Breakbulk industry is truly resilient.”

While the majority of attendees hailed from Texas, representatives from more than 50 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia were present, as well as companies from as far afield as Singapore, Spain and Saudi Arabia—in total, 67 countries were represented at this year’s event.

At one end of the supply chain were cargo owners, which included the world’s top engineering, procurement and construction companies, such as Bechtel, Fluor, CB&I, AECOM, Jacobs and Kiewit; leading oil & gas companies, such as ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Shell; plus, global manufacturers, including GE, Lockheed Martin and Caterpillar. Making up the supplier links were more than 325 exhibitors that represented many of the region’s leading transportation and freight forwarding providers.

Breakbulk cargoes are goods that must be loaded individually as separate pieces rather than in intermodal containers or in bulk, like oil or grains. Most is project cargo, such as components for refineries and infrastructure projects. These pieces can weigh over 1,000 tons and require specialized transportation and logistics, running into the millions of dollars per project.

More than an exhibition, Breakbulk Americas offers two full days of conference sessions, along with micro-seminars, an education workshop for students studying to become the next generation of maritime leaders and—new this year—TechZone Americas, sponsored by Jade Logistics, and offered in cooperation with Bechtel and the University of Houston’s College of Technology.

This year’s keynotes featured Ed Gore, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, Bechtel Oil Gas & Chemicals, who will gave a largely positive outlook for oil & gas projects; highlighting a number of downstream projects. On the second day, Rodger Baker, Vice President of Strategic Analysis at Stratfor, provided a trade update for the Americas. Of particular interest to both shippers and forwarders was Kathy Canaan’s micro-seminar on Compliance: 2 Hours That Could Change Your Business. Canaan is the global director of trade compliance for Fluor.

For the full agenda and other event information, please visit www.breakbulk.com/bbam2017

More about Breakbulk events

Breakbulk events are held in four locations around the world. In addition to Houston, Texas, Breakbulk Middle East will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, from 6-7 Feb. 2018; Breakbulk China in Shanghai from 26-29 March 2018; and Breakbulk Europe, the largest event of its kind in the world, will be held in Bremen, Germany, 29-31 May 2018. For more information about exhibiting, sponsoring and attending these events, visit www.breakbulk.com.




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