30 Years of AAPA LAtino: memories and challenges of one of the main Congresses for ports in the region

26 November 2022

From November 28th to 30th, the Port of Santos will welcome more than 600 representatives of port authorities, directors, managers, executives, suppliers and leaders of the maritime-port sector, as host of the XXX Latin American Congress of Ports.
This exclusive group representing the continental port industry will also be part of a milestone as important as it is significant: nothing less than the celebration of the AAPA Latino’s 30th anniversary.
Three decades of life, dozens of host ports throughout Latin America and the United States, hundreds of exhibitors and sponsors, many meetings, business and camaraderie reunions, and thousands of executives have been part of the different editions of this congress and have enabled it, over the years, to became one of the essential events for the logistics, port, maritime and river activity in the region.


"It is the most beautiful memory that I will take to my grave: the warmth and affection of the relationships with my port colleagues and with all the team that has always worked tirelessly to make each Congress a unique and memorable event. That is the great success that was achieved: to form a great Latin American family”.
These are the words of Armando Duarte, former President of the Latin American Delegation of AAPA and one of the two Latin Americans who made his way from Colombia to the highest representation offered by the Association: to be continental Chairman between 2012-2013.
As a regular participant of the Congress of Ports, he recognizes that it is difficult for him to highlight a single great moment of these 30 years: Anchorage (Alaska); Antigua (Guatemala), Merida (Mexico), Bahia Blanca, Iguazu and Rosario (Argentina), Arica and Valparaiso (Chile), Lima (Peru), Manta (Ecuador), Bogota (Colombia) -the first non-port venue-, Punta del Este (Uruguay), Miami (USA) and Panama, are among his favorite memories.
"The details, anecdotes and memories of each one, will be available with a cup of coffee in between," he promises, while dedicating emotional words to Zulma Dinelli ("soul and essence of each congress"), Kurt Nagle, Rafael Díaz-Balart, and those he indicates as "mentors": Agustín Díaz (Curaçao), Mauricio Suárez (Colombia) and Valentín Morán (R.I.P.) (Argentina).
Another undisputed "AAPA-man" who is proud to be part of the history of this congress is Agustín Díaz, former General Manager of the Curaçao Port Authority, Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2002 and 2003, and former President of the Latin American Delegation: “With great humility I can say that I feel great satisfaction in having been able to contribute to the collaboration between ports in the Western Hemisphere by integrating the ports of the Caribbean and Latin America," he says. He adds that he is "proud" to witness how Curaçao, currently "under the leadership of Humberto de Castro," continues to be an active part of AAPA's history.


But not only memories are honoring the legacy of AAPA Latino: its 2022 edition also bets to be a turning point towards the future challenges that the regional industry seeks to overcome in the upcoming years.
"Santos 2022 represents the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Latin American Congress, hosted by the most important port in Latin America. We are very excited to be able to share this celebration, which will be a milestone from many different perspectives," says Rafael Diaz-Balart, AAPA Latin American Coordinator.
The executive highlights how this event has become "the essential annual meeting to obtain relevant information on significant issues in the hemispheric port sector, but it has also been the platform to do business and strengthen trade relations. There is no other event like it in Latin America", he assures, predicting even better editions to come.
Armando Duarte agrees: "each upcoming congress must be better than the previous one and we must fight from all sides and with all the actors to make it possible: Santos is one of the most important ports in Latin America and there is certainly a lot to learn, to know and to enjoy everything it has to offer”.
Zulma Dinelli, General Director of the Congress and responsible for the organization and planning of the event for more than a decade, also predicts an auspicious future for AAPA LATINO: "I am proud to be part of this history, mainly, of this group that works hard to add value to the future of the industry, and to promote businesses and relevant issues, in this congress made with so much affection and that has earned a relevant space in the continent, as one of the great milestones of the year. Undoubtedly, the commemoration of these 30 years, besides being celebrated big time will strongly encourage us to keep making AAPA Latino a key event on the calendar", she concluded.