08-10 October 2024
Antwerp expo

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the main deck agenda

discover global trends & opportunites from industry leaders

Below you can find the topics covered for the Main Deck Conference, which is subject to change. Make sure you check back regularly for new announcements on speakers and sessions for November.

important topics coming to the main deck


Trade Routes

Heavy Lift


Project Cargo


attracting talent


5 October

FORECASTING - Managing the needs of breakbulk and project cargo shippers in the current multipurpose shipping market

10.00 - 10.45 CET

The impact of the container segment on the market and potential cargo flows between Europe, Middle East and Asia.

• How market volatility and freight levels have a serious impact on the trade
• Separating yourself from other forwarders


DIGITALISATION - Breakbulk bottlenecks and digital vision

10.45 - 11.45 CET

Despite the lack of standardisation and the complexity of transports, there is an abundance of new ideas, technologies and platforms that can significantly enhance operational efficiency within the breakbulk industry.

  • What digitalisation is and what it can bring
  • A look at the status quo of digitalisation
  • How to digitalise a non-standard industry?
  • Digital challenges and bottlenecks faced by the sector
  • Which technologies should be part of the digital vision?
Untitled design (16)


NEXTGEN - 40 Under 40

13.00 - 14.00 CET

Developing an agile workforce which is able fully to ‘think out of the box’, using new skills and competencies for a robust future breakbulk labour market.

  • Labour market: what are the new skills required by the growth in tech advances for breakbulk?
  • Where are the skills gaps?

CONTINUITY - Managing Continuity in project cargo and breakbulk

14.15 - 15.15 CET

  • Current challenges affecting the industry
  • The impact of energy transition on project cargo
  • Digitalization in the shipping industry
  • Position of container carriers in the project cargo segment

CONNECTIONS - Intermodal links, rail and barge

15.30 - 16.30 CET

This session will be highlighting the advantages and also current challenges of rail and barge modalities for breakbulk cargo. You will get to know how the cargo from the rail cars from hinterland can be loaded to containers in the Port of Antwerp Bruges in order to export it to any maritime destination worldwide (and vice versa).

We will also discuss the impact of the increased truck and energy prices on the rail and barge transport. We will also tackle the major bottlenecks of the rail and barge connections and propose solutions forward. Despite of the big challenges, the discussion will also highlight new opportunities for the transport of break-bulk cargo in the future.

  • Key advantages – Barge and rail transport being optimal transport mode for breakbulk, conventional cargo and project cargo
  • Barge transport of project cargo between Germany and Port of Antwerp-Bruges. New investments to breakbulk terminal in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges
  • Rail transport of breakbulk cargo from/to Austria in wagons and loading of cargo from wagons into containers in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges
  • Example of collaboration and digital communication between the operator and customers
  • Major bottlenecks and new opportunities for the future


6 October

TECHNOLOGY - Top applications, innovative technologies, and future-proof products

10.00-11.00 CET

Working towards a valuable digital solution. Answering industry needs and desires to enrich the daily life experiences of end-users.

• What are the problems within logistics?
• Debunking the myths about digitalisation
• Looking after our people and the world around us
• Future-proofing – how to do it?

SUSTAINABILITY - The priority of a fight against climate change and a look towards future fuels

11.15 - 12.15 CET

An outlook for developing a cost-effective and sustainable breakbulk logistics chain.

We all want clean air, green ships, sustainable jobs but it comes at a cost! 

Who is willing to pay the cost?

  • Green fuels and the transition of shipping
  • What are the propulsion methods of the future in breakbulk?
Margaret Dunn


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - Automation, Digitalization, and Artificial Intelligence in shipping

12:30 - 13:30 CET

A look into digital sustainability, autonomous shipping, the challenges with brokers and the future of container lines
  • What is the future of container lines
  • Digital sustainability
  • Shipowners in the modern shipping
  • Digital Multimodal freight 


CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES - The future of the breakbulk and project cargo sector

13.45 - 14.45 CET

A 360 degree review of trends, trade flows, opportunities and barriers to trade, and the overall economic outlook for breakbulk projects.

  • Why traditional breakbulk business have had to be transformed into a multimodal concept
  • What does the international trade landscape look like now that we are experiencing less global, more regional trends?
  • What are the barriers to international trade?
  • How are trade flows impacted by global trends?
Régine Mahaux Catrien Scheers feb 2022



To hear all these talks first-hand, and benefit from the invaluable insights they provide, as well as meet over 150+ leading breakbulk solutions provides and attend a range of networking events, register your interest today.

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