port_competitives.jpg Security, safety and efficient seaport operations are complementary goals, according to leading maritime government and business professionals who spoke at the “Hemispheric Conference on Port Competitiveness and Security: Finding the Right Balance,” hosted by the UM Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), which is housed at the School.

“Look at security as an investment, not just a cost,” said keynote speaker Captain Michael Brown, chief of the International Port Security Evaluation Division at the U.S. Coast Guard, in his talk to 85 attendees from 28 countries.

The port competitiveness conference was part of a multiday series that took place at the School Feb. 20-24. CIBER organized the port competitiveness conference along with the Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP) of the Organization of American States (OAS), with support from sponsors Hudson-Analytix and T&T Salvage. It followed the two-day Miami Conference on Operations (MCO), also hosted by CIBER and organized by the School’s Operations and Supply Chain Management group. The MCO, during which 12 thought leaders presented cuttingedge research in operations and supply chain management, drew 60 participants from 33 different academic institutions, industry organizations and companies.


“We have the top dogs of the port management business here to learn about successful practices in security and logistics,” said Jorge Duran, chief of the Secretariat of the CIP. “Countries throughout the Americas are investing in expanding their commercial ports, and it is vital to address security concerns in the modernization process.”

Noting that 90% of the world’s trade travels by sea, Lonnie Kishiyama, director of the Office of International Activities at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), said, “An attack on any aspect of the maritime system could put economic activity at risk, so it is critical that ports address security vulnerabilities.”

In his keynote talk, Coast Guard Captain Brown said threats to port operations range from criminal activity and drug smuggling, to terrorism and cyberattacks. “Identify your vulnerabilities, conduct a risk assessment, and incorporate security into your business practices,” he said. “For example, training your operational personnel to be alert to security and safety threats can be a low-cost approach that improves your operations and makes your port more competitive in the global market.”

In a panel discussion on “Innovation for Competitive Port Security Operations,” Fernando Huarcaya Ugarte, a delegate for Peru-based ISPS Network, emphasized the importance of sharing best practices, such as exchanging information among regulatory agencies and working with local communities. Chaning Burgess, deputy chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s International Port Security Evaluation Division, gave an overview of his agency’s Homeport international outreach program.

Horacio Artemio Prieto, prefect major for Argentina’s Naval Prefecture, said his nation is investing billions in improving port infrastructure, including security. “We are setting higher benchmarks for protection of the perimeter, including uniform standards for fencing, alarms and video cameras,” he said. “We posted those standards to make them easily accessible for everyone in the private and government sectors.”


Discussing “Trade Facilitation through Dependable and Safe Logistics Operations,” panelist Jorge Metz, undersecretary of ports and waterways for Argentina’s Under-Secretariat of Ports and Waterways, said his nation is investing billions of dollars to modernize its canals, waterways and ports and to accommodate increased trade and cruise ship operations.

Panelist Frances Bohnsack, director of MARAD’s (the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration) South Atlantic Gateway office in Miami, said modernization requires a long-term strategic plan, as well as a public and private sector partnership policy. Romaine Seguin, president of the Americas Region for United Parcel Service, emphasized the importance of training employees in security procedures while investing in the latest technology. “Understand your risk points, and be proactive in addressing any gaps,” she said. “Be sure to validate your processes, and be sure your employees are following the security procedures.”


The Miami Conference on Operations brought together thought leaders to discuss cutting-edge topics in the area. “Miami plays a vital role in global supply chains,” said Hari Natarajan, an associate professor of management and co-organizer of the conference. “It is the nation’s seventh-largest export hub, with $33 billion in goods exported each year, and is the gateway of the Americas. The Miami Conference on Operations leveraged the School’s Miami location to connect institutions, individuals and ideas across the Americas and throughout the world.” Nan Yang, a professor of management at the School, also co-organized the conference.

Speakers included fellows of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS), the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management (MSOM) Society and the Production and Operations Management Society (POMS). School of Business participants included Interim Dean Anuj Mehrotra; assistant professors Xin Geng, Vamsi Kanuri and Christos Zacharias; and doctoral students studying operations management at the School.

Natarajan noted that the conference complements the growth of the School’s supply chain management expertise. Yang is one of the faculty members with expertise in that area who have joined the School during the past few years. The School’s PhD concentration in operations management is expanding, and new experiential learning opportunities are helping students better understand complex global supply chains. “Hosting events like the MCO is directly aligned with UM President Frenk’s vision of achieving hemispheric leadership and with the School’s goals of continuing to strengthen our supply chain programs,” Natarajan said. “With the support of UM CIBER, we hope that this will become an annual event.”

From Conference Co-Organizers Hari Natarajan and Nan Yang

1. Pricing is a key element of every strategy.
2. Complex mathematical models are helping retailers estimate demand and optimize price in a competitive marketplace on a realtime basis.
3. Online retailers are judiciously evaluating service subscriptions and how to price them, in concert with demand and price models.
4. The sharing economy and new industries have led to new decision requirements for pricing and matching of supply and demand.
5. Inventory can be managed more effectively with opportunities provided by new technologies such as 3-D printing.

Spring 2017
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