The 2021 Port of the Future Virtual Conference addressed the urgent and immediate issues facing ports of entry, regulators and associated industries, including (but not limited to)

  • Decarbonization, sustainability and alternative fuels
  • Port resiliency and security challenges and solutions (physical and cyber)
  • Digitalization and data sharing 
  • Automation opportunities
  • Advances in Biometrics


The 2021 Port of the Future Virtual Conference offered corporate leaders, trade and logistics professionals, government officials, and leading researchers the opportunity to examine an expanding and evolving vision of future Ports of Entry.

The virtual platform allowed attendees, sponsors and speakers to:

  • Watch presentations both live and on-demand
  • View all attendees and network with them inside the platform
  • See the latest technologies transforming ports of entry
    And more!



Rep. Dan Crenshaw
U. S. Congressman
Texas's 2nd Congressional District
Berit Hinnemann
Senior Innovation Project Manager
Dr. Noel Hacegaba
Deputy Executive Director/COO
Port of Long Beach
Karrie Trauth
General Manager, Shipping & Maritime Americas
Admiral Karl Schultz
United States Coast Guard
Alan Bersin
Senior Fellow
Belfer Center - Harvard Kennedy School
Carrie Kinsler
TXR Logistics
Mike Leahy
Minister-Counsellor and Regional Director of the America’s
Canada Border Services Agency
Erwin Verstraelen
Chief Digital and Innovation Officer
Port of Antwerp
Wanda Gordon
Director, Global Security Strategy
International Association of Certified ISAOs (IACI)
Hady Salloum
Director, Maritime Security Center
Stevens Institute of Technology
Steve S. Sin
Director, Unconventional Weapons & Technology Division
National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), University of Maryland


View the most up-to-date agenda for the 2021 Port of the Furture Virtual Conference by clicking the link below. If you would like to discuss joining the program or have questions, contact: 

"The event was super informative with various types of technology discussed, such as cyber terrorism, that were enlightening. I thought it was a really good conference about how to move freight in the future, through air, land ports and marine ports. I would absolutely recommend it to others to attend.” 
Veronica Green - Houston Galveston Area Council

Conference Positioning Overview

The Port of the Future Conference is shaped by research and innovation, advances in technology, increased dependence on automation, enhancements in data security and information sharing, and heightened environmental compliance – all impacting the ability to rapidly and securely move cargo and people across international borders.

This conference focuses on creating and revitalizing our Nation’s ports, infrastructure, and processes -across air, maritime, land, and cyber domains. 

Registrants virtually heard from government and industry leaders on their visions for Ports of the Future, projected trends and emerging challenges, promising research, and new, cutting-edge technology.

The March 2021 virtual event saw over 800 registrants from around the globe, including 175 speakers and over 20 sponsors and partners.

The first conference, held in March 2020, was attended in-person by over 120 executives and 60-plus speakers, who, in the midst of the beginnings of the uncertainty of the COVID-19 scenario, learned, debated, discussed and networked with peers from around the United States and world.

Presentations and panel sessions were aimed to:

  • Expand and evolve the roles of airports, seaports, and land ports of entry in a modern, globalized, and interconnected American economy;
  • Envision the Future: increased size of container ships, full automation, faster processing, environmentally cleaner and efficient, creation of off shore ports, deep ocean cargo transfers;
  • Facilitate Trade and Ensure Security: through the design and conduct of efficient logistics processes, and enhancements to secure traveler and trade programs;
  • Integrate New Technology: incorporate technological advances in traveler and cargo processing, biometric screening, surveillance, non-intrusive inspection equipment, and more;
  • Port Projects: current and pending projects to expand and enhance port facilities, and the creation of environmentally friendly and sustainable facilities;
  • Enhance Collaboration: between government agencies and corporate entities, expand opportunities to work jointly to address new challenges;
  • Increase Resilience: to natural and technological disasters, terrorist acts, and criminal activities;
  • Address Connectivity: through railways, ground transportation, pipelines and future modes of transport;
  • Enhance Security: recognize ports as an economic target, bring attention to emerging vulnerabilities and possible solutions; strengthen efforts to counter corruption and curb the influence of cartels and other criminal organizations;
  • Promote Cybersecurity: Identify emerging cyber vulnerabilities and possible solutions to protect electronically sensitive information of American citizens and ensure the integrity of port systems and networks.
  • Ensure Environmental Compliance: upgrade port infrastructure to contend with impacts of climate change, rising sea levels, and increased frequency of severe weather events and natural disasters
  • Develop the workforce of the future: identify industry needs and the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed in the modern and future workforce; credentialing.




Private Sector

  • Chief Executive Officers (airports, seaports, passenger and cargo carriers) 
  • Port and Harbor Commissioners
  • Airport General Manager
  • Chief Operating Officer 
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Chief Commercial Officer
  • Chief, Port Infrastructure Officer
  • Port Director
  • Director of Aviation
  • Director of Port Operations
  • Director, Security/ Information Technology
  • Director of Security, Facilities and Regulatory Compliance
  • Director, Environmental Affairs
  • Port Security and Emergency Operations Officer
  • Director, Environmental Affairs
  • Export Executive
  • Operation Executive – Freight Forwarding
  • Ship Captain
  • Terminal Manager


  • U.S. Coast Guard 
  • Transportation Security Administration
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • Office of Field Operations
  • Chief Information Security Officer

“I enjoyed the conference and thought all the agenda items were very helpful, especially the maritime track. I would attend again and would recommend it for other directors to attend as well.” Walker Smith, Port of Harlingen



Since the early 1940s, the University of Houston College of Technology is one of the nation's largest and fastest growing Tier 1 technology institutions focused on advancing workforce development, research, and economic prosperity.  With over 6,200 students, the college pursues applied ingenuity in practical fields from Science-Technology-Engineering-Math to degrees in innovation management, cyber security, and consumer sciences.

In addition to hosting the Homeland Security Center of Excellence for BTI, the college offers accredited studies through four departments (Construction Management, Engineering Technology, Human Development and Consumer Sciences, and Information and Logistics Technology).  The international student body mirrors the University of Houston which is ranked among the most ethnically diverse universities in the United States.

The BTI Institute: A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence

The Homeland Security Centers of Excellence bring together leading experts and researchers to conduct multidisciplinary research and education for homeland security solutions.

The centers are sponsored by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate's (S&T) Office of University Programs (OUP) and selected through a competitive selection process.  Each center is led by a university in collaboration with partners from other institutions, agencies, laboratories, think tanks, and the private sector.

The Borders, Trade, and Immigration (BTI) Institute, led by the University of Houston, conducts and transitions research, develops innovative solutions, and provides education that enhances the Nation’s ability to secure the borders, facilitate legitimate trade and travel, and ensure the integrity of the immigration system.

Through a multi-disciplinary team of national and international experts, the Institute delivers transformational technology-driven solutions, data-informed policies, workforce development opportunities for today’s Homeland Security Enterprise, and trans-disciplinary education for the next generation of homeland security experts.