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Maritime News
Texas and Denmark officials discuss the future of the maritime industry and shared global goals
by Lynda Guidry
Friday, May 04, 2018

The future of the maritime industry was the theme of a forum held at the Maersk Training facility in Houston on Wednesday, May 2.  The meeting included attendance and remarks by U.S. Congressman Randy Weber and Minister of Foreign Affairs for Denmark Anders Samuelsen. 

Niels Aalund, senior vice president of maritime affairs for the West Gulf Maritime Association, welcomed the dignitaries and invited them to speak to the audience.

Each delivered remarks highlighting their country’s strengths in the industry and the desire to forge and maintain co-operative relations that will enhance shared global goals and opportunities.

Future of Maritime Industry

Minister SamuelsenListen (9:31)

Congressman WeberListen (11:55)

Aalund introduced the participants on the first panel who shared knowledge, experiences and best practices between Texas & Denmark on the sustainability, innovation and trends that are essential to our state and country, as well as countries like Denmark, that are world leaders in all things maritime.

The first panel, focusing on sustainability, discussed environmental concerns, regulatory procedures, safety measures and security on the seas and waterways and in the ports.  Listen (51:11)

Panelists heard in the recording of the first session were:   

Brian Muehling is a senior international environmental specialist at EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs. He oversees EPA’s work with the UN International Maritime Organization, leads EPA’s work to assist the Government of Mexico in developing an Emission Control Area designation proposal, and works on Arctic shipping and policy matters.

Future of the Maritime IndustryHans Pedersen has over 45 years of experience within the maritime industry with a background as a marine engineer. He sailed as such for four years, gaining a solid knowledge of the technical aspects of the shipping business. Hans is Director of Sales & Service at Danfoss IXA, a company within the Danfoss group.

Mark Bottiglieri, USCG Branch Chief Port State Control Sector Houston-Galveston U. S. oversees the division exercising authority over foreign vessels, verifing compliance with international conventions and U.S. laws and regulations identifying and eliminating substandard ships from U. S. waters.

Other scheduled speakers were:

Klaus Rostell has been with Danish Maritime Association for over 6 years now, both as General Project Manager and currently as Director of International Affairs where he handles external relations, export promotion and trade policies, IPR and classification issues.

Thomas Leander has been with MAN Diesel & Turbo since 2014 where he started as Senior Manager for Head of Propulsion before moving to the US in 2016 and into his current role as Vice President, Head of Region Americas – Engines & Marine Systems.

Future of the Maritime IndustryRich Byrnes is the Chief Infrastructure Officer for the Port of Houston Authority.  He leads a multi-functional group tasked with supporting public transportation and trade needs of the region and enabling efficient and effective Port operations. 

Leonard Hale has more than 35 years of experience across the maritime, offshore, and manufacturing industries where he has held several leadership positions. As Executive VP of Gulf Copper and Manufacturing since 2014, he currently runs the GC Energy Services division which provides various services to the offshore industry and has managed the division for nearly four years without a recordable incident.

Dr. R. Vis is a Marine Engineer with a Doctorate in Metallurgical Engineering and a Master’s in Internal Combustion. He is on the Roster of Experts of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a consultant to the US Department of Transportation (Maritime Administration), and a member of CIMAC Working Group for Heavy Fuels and Lube Oils and ASTM D2 Committees.

Heidi Bjerge Hansen has been on a fast track career with Viking Life-Saving Equipment (Viking) since she joined the company as a student assistant in 2011. She currently works as Sales Manager for the company’s American entity with the responsibility for Shipowner & Offshore Safety Agreements.

Niels Aalund serves as an Officer and as Senior Vice President with primary responsibility for advocating on behalf of member companies (stevedores, steamship agents, vessel owners, and industry stakeholders) with local, state and federal agencies.

Sponsors of the event were the West Gulf Maritime Association, Maersk Training and Biehl International Corporation.




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Remembering Jim Guidry Houston Maritime Museum Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership


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