Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc. (IRPT) concluded the 2021 Annual Conference in Biloxi at the IP Casino and Spa October 18-20, 2021.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for our many sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and members in attendance. After the past year and a half of being locked in due to COVID-19, with zoom meetings and teleconferences, we had a tremendous turnout with everyone enjoying the in- person interaction. Everyone helped make this event a great success by sharing their thoughts and experiences and asking questions to help gain a better understanding of the inland river industry. It was amazing to see all the networking and relationship building as we learned of new opportunities, new technologies, and the regulatory changes affecting our industry.

We hope everyone who attended found the conference informative and worthwhile. The primary goal was to bring members and non-members together to expand the conversation on inland waterway transportation and learn how to become a more inclusive industry.

The conference was kicked-off Monday evening with a reception at Port Bienville that included a port tour of the facility. Goodnight Terminal Services (GTS) opened their warehouse to welcome the attendees to an evening of great bar-b-que, spirits, music, laughter, comradery, and networking. We would like to express our appreciation to Port Bienville for hosting this event and GTS for giving us a great venue!

During the conference, we were blessed to welcome our special guest, Captain Jim Murphy, Ret. MARAD, to Biloxi and honor him with IRPT’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his impact to our industry. Captain Murphy, graduate of US Merchant Marine Academy with Honors in Nautical Science, earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Tulane University, graduated from the US Navy War College, and earned a Certification in Transportation & Logistics.

He earned experience as a Deckhand on a towboat pushing oil tank barges, as Operations Manager for two ship agencies, as a staff member for a trade association, and as a Marine Surveyor Hull & Machinery representing underwriters.

Jim has served as Gateway Director for the Central Gulf Southern Rivers systems of Maritime Administration (MARAD), he has served as Ports, Domestic Shipping, Intermodal, and Environmental Officer in promotional programs involved in customer service, team building, and emergency planning/response. He earned the Agency Bronze Medal in 2001. He has earned three (3) Partnering for Excellence Awards.

Captain James Murphy has served a full lifetime career in the maritime transportation industry, shared his knowledge and wisdom and assisted ports and terminals reach their goals. IRPT is grateful to have served along side and with Captain Murphy.

 

We were extremely honored to have Governor Tate Reeves as our keynote speaker on Tuesday, October 19th. His message to our attendees on the importance of waterborne transportation to the nation’s economy was educational and impactful. With major maritime transportation routes in Mississippi (Tennessee-Tombigbee, Mississippi, Yazoo Rivers and the Gulf and Intracoastal Waterways), Governor Reeves has been crucial to the development and success of ports and terminals in the State of Mississippi for the benefit of shippers around the country and the world.

We were also grateful to have Senator Roger Wicker videotape a message to the conference attendees about the important strides Congress has made towards supporting the inland river system through funding much needed grants for port infrastructure. Please view the video-message here.

 

Please find all available presentations from conference linked below:

  • John Anderson, Van Scoyoc Associates, gave an informative presentation on the 117th Congress Infrastructure Package and an outlook on Capitol Hill 2021.
  • We were delighted to hear from our very own, Jim Kearns, Jones Walker, about earmarks and what they mean to our industry.
  • We were grateful to learn about Federal Agency Updates given by Timothy Pickering, MARAD, and Patrick Chambers, USACE MVD.
  • The panel discussion on Strengthening Communications and Emergency Response which included Fred Taylor, LSI, Captain Eric Carrerro, USCG, and Mr. Jared Gartman, USACE-MVD, was extremely beneficial to the attendees to understand the importance of the emergency response teams along the different navigation channels and the need for up-to-date Waterway Action Plans.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the Tuesday evening reception at Point Cadet with perfect weather, delicious seafood, music, drinks, and a beautiful sunset while visiting with longtime friends and making new acquaintances. There were several instances where attendees told IRPT they made more contacts at the IRPT conference than they had at all the other conferences they had attended put together in years’ past.

It was exciting to see the continuous traffic around the exhibitor booths and hear about the connections they were making and the value they found in exhibiting.

Wednesday was power packed with content as well. The presentations (if available) are linked below:

Please don’t forget, professional development hours are available. Please email the IRPT staff with your request.

The networking continued throughout the day and into the night where we ended Conference with an exciting tour of the Port of Gulfport showcasing their facilities, followed by a farewell dinner cruise along the shoreline with Ship Island Excursions. Great conversations and laughter echoed over the hum of the engine as we made our way back to shore and said our farewells.

We are only a few days out and have already received such positive response from attendees. For those that have taken the time to contact us, thank you, we love hearing what you have to say and value your input!

There is so much more that could be said about Conference, the content, networking, events, food, etc… But, the best and most important part of Conference is all of you! You are what makes Conference what it is and what makes it successful. Seeing everyone connect and work together is what it is all about. Thank you for trusting IRPT Staff to serve you and provide an opportunity for inland river industry professionals to come together in a forum where we can learn from each other, support one another, and promote industry growth.

Last, but by far not least, we cannot recap IRPT 2021 Annual Conference without acknowledging our very own Aimee Andres, Executive Director of IRPT for her accomplishments and well-deserved recognition. The IAMPE awarded its first Industry Leadership Award to Aimee Andres, AMPE, Executive Director of the Inland River Ports and Terminal Association (IRPT), for “Outstanding Leadership in the Port and Maritime Industry.” We couldn’t be prouder of Aimee!

Hear from Our Attendees

"Attending a conference with IRPT is the best way to network with a diverse group of industry professionals and learn about all the new issues floating around the inland marine industry. With nearly two decades within the marine industry, I cannot think of a better opportunity than an IRPT conference that allows you to grow and expand upon the knowledge which our industry professionals have to offer."

                                          - Bill Stahlman, America's Central Port

 

While the speakers are always exceptional, you cannot put a value on the connections that are made at conference. Connections that I call when I’m in a tough spot, connections that know a guy who knows a guy that can do what I need done, connections that have made the mistake that I’m getting ready to make, etc. In an ever-changing industry, it's invaluable to learn from and connect with others that are in the industry.”

- Lucy Fletcher, AGRIServices of Brunswick

Biloxi Picture

Some of the comments made to IRPT staff included:

“We have made more connections than we thought possible and have already scheduled a site visit and quote.”

“We have been to conferences where the exhibitors are in separate areas and having attendees visit your booth is hit and miss. This set up is amazing!”

“As a first-time participant I have learned a lot and look forward to getting more involved with the Inland River logistics sector.”

“Thank you again for all the help in attending the IRPT show in Biloxi. It was a positive experience and we’ve already talked and are looking forward to more events down the road.”

These are some of the responses we have received thus far.

“The show was great and the efforts from your team paid off. I have told everyone that this was quite possibly the best conference that I have attended. That is not an exaggeration! The great people added even further to the experience.”

“Thank you for the opportunity to attend IRPT.  I enjoyed the sessions, tours, and food!  Unfortunately, I enjoyed that last item a little too much.”

“I attended your conference in Biloxi, and wanted to say thank you and well done! These types of conferences are not always known for being that exciting, but I do have to say that Aimee’s energy and excitement definitely helped that not occur.”

“I just wanted to reach out personally and say thank you to everyone for being so helpful leading up to the conference and for putting on a great event. We are very happy we made the decision to attend the conference and become IRPT members, one of the best decisions we've made.”

“That was a tremendous conference that your team produced. Really top notch. I’ve been involved with over 100 conferences in the past 3 years so I know the effort that is required. I told Jim Kearns that the IRPT team is second to none.”

Thank you to the 2021 Conference Sponsors: Diamond

SENNEBOGEN new
Anvil Logo
Tangent
Wintech
Port of Gulfport.gif
Retro Domes
Natchez Adams County Port
Hancock County (Bienville)

Thank you to the 2021 Conference Sponsors: Gold

JW_RGB
Port of Morgan City
Port of Memphis
Bulk Equip
DCL Dust Control
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Marine Solutions
SLM
F&M Mafco new
Liebherr

Robert B. Miller & Associates

GTS_LOGO
CTLC

Thank you to the 2021 Conference Sponsors: Silver