the main deck agenda

discover global trends & opportunites from industry leaders

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

10 March

Flows Breakfast


Global trends & economic impacts on breakbulk


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

  • What have been the main challenges posed by Covid 19, and what have been the lessons learnt?
  • 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?
  • How is the decarbonisation agenda impacting trade flows?
  • Economic outlook for breakbulk projects


Sustainability in the Breakbulk Logistics Chain


The breakbulk shipping ecosystem as a whole needs to work towards & support sustainability aims & initiatives. From a range of perspectives, this session highlights the opportunities & challenges around decarbonising breakbulk shipping; debates how responsibilities and costs can impact the supply chain, and provides an overall outlook for developing a cost-effective & sustainable breakbulk logistics chain.

  • Impact of COVID-19 on both the decarbonization agenda and IMO 2020
  • Implementation of the IMO 2020 fuel sulphur cap: review and update
  • What about the sustainability agenda beyond IMO 2020? Getting to Zero Coalition, the Poseidon Principles and new fuels of the future
  • We all want clean air, green ships, sustainable jobs but it comes at a cost! Who is willing to pay the cost?
  • Breakbulk ecosystems: Meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
  • What is the impact of the shipping industry on the SDGs?
  • What is the fuel (/propulsion method) of the future in breakbulk-shipping


Shippers Lunch (by invite only)

Spotlight on China:

  • What have been the hurdles over recent months regarding goods leaving China to Europe?
  • How has the slowdown in production in China affected the global supply chain across other regions?
  • With falling oil prices, which projects are still taking place?

Realities of digital in breakbulk


Why isn’t innovation happening in breakbulk? This session discusses the digital gap, and where are the opportunities for connectivity – across data, social & collaborative practices. How can collaboration on standards, processes and responsibilities help to bring about substantive change for the better?

  • Modern breakbulk: What are the future possibilities?
  • Paperless bill of lading: Are we ready for this?
  • How to handle companies that have no “real” connection to the ports such as banks that receive BL’s?
  • Containerization of breakbulk: How to keep breakbulk attractive by innovation; and how to make it transparent for “hybrid” shippers that are not really caring about whether it goes on a container vessel or a breakbulk vessel but are about costs & efficiency/ transparency?
  • AI & bulkchain – use cases/ pilots

Round table Discussions: Spotlights on growth areas - Where are the opportunities in breakbulk?

Spotlight on Africa:

  • The challenges around port infrastructure
  • Balancing risk: cyclical nature of commodities markets & impact on breakbulk projects & planning
  • Funding models for port infrastructure projects in Africa


Spotlight on North America:

  • Where are the challenges?
  • Are there geographical differences across North America?
  • Where are the opportunities?


11 March

Recent impacts of Covid 19 on breakbulk

This session discusses recent challenges posed by the Covid 19 pandemic on the world of shipping and specifically, breakbulk. How have factory closures, lockdowns, quarantine and travel bans affected projects? What have been the lessons for breakbulk logistics? And what is the future outlook for project cargo?
• What have been the main difficulties for supply chains posed by Covid 19?
• How is global uncertainty impacting capital investments and what does this mean for breakbulk logistics?
• How has the slowdown in production in China affected the global supply chain across other regions?
• What have been the hurdles over recent months regarding goods leaving China to Europe?
• How have different regions experienced the Covid 19 pandemic?
• Resuming operations: what could recovery look like?


Smart ports: Technology & Innovation for breakbulk projects


This session will cover how tech advances and innovation at the ports are improving collaborative practices and providing efficiencies in breakbulk cargo.

  • Collaboration, sharing knowledge and best practices to raise the quality of the whole port community
  • Update on the Bulkchain platform
  • Improving fluidity & reliability in breakbulk cargoes
  • Meeting client requirements
  • Covid 19 – stabilising port logistics
  • The changing supply chain during cononavirus (e.g. automotives stopped completely)


NextGen Lunch

Future skills & agile thinking

  • Developing new skills & 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?
  • Investing in training and education to achieve employee’s full potential and contribute to business growth
  • Developing an agile workforce which is abe fully to ‘think out of the box’

Round table discussions

Delivering client-focused logistics

  • What does the supply chain look like?
  • Vertical integration: how is the breakbulk industry changing?
  • Project logistics costs: what to expect?
  • What are the client requirements when selecting a global project forwarder?
  • Separating yourself from other forwarders



In a growing sector, what are the challenges for breakbulk transport in renewables?
  • With blades for wind turbines getting ever bigger, what are the transport/ project handling solutions?
  • What are the benefits of modular components & batching?
  • How to develop projects in a cost-efficient way?
  • Attitude of the OEMs


Hinterland Connections

  • What do good hinterland connections look like for breakbulk cargo?
  • Concerns around traffic congestions
  • Accessing inland waterways
  • Intermodal: Rail connections
  • What is the role of the rail operators in promoting ports?
  • Role of dry ports & first mile transit



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.