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EghtesadOnline: The 12th International Conference on Coasts, Ports and Marine Structures opened in Tehran on Monday with the aim of improving regional cooperation in maritime engineering, according to the conference organizer, Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran.

The biennial event is considered one of the oldest and most important scientific events in Iran and the Persian Gulf region. The first ICOPMAS conference was held in Tehran University 26 years ago.

It is billed as a think tank that works to improve the knowledge of coasts and ports engineering and offers a platform to exchange the latest scientific innovations and technical achievements by gathering engineers, designers, scientists and researchers in the field.

ICOPMAS 2016 received an overwhelming response of 426 extended abstracts, from which 131 of the best papers were picked for oral presentation and 88 for poster illustration.

Despite the tightening of US entry regulations for those who travel to Iran, researchers of over 35 countries participated in the forum, according to executive secretary of the conference, Mohammad Reza Allahyar.

The conference has witnessed extensive audience participation.

A committee of 21 scientists from 14 countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, the US and Canada, as well as 49 Iranian scientists has reviewed the papers and will hold workshops at Tehran’s Olympic International Hotel.  

The main subjects on the three-day event’s agenda (October 31–November 2) are hydrodynamic and sediment, port and coastal management, port engineering and coastal structures, offshore and pipeline engineering and marine environment and safety.

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi, who attended the opening ceremony, believes the forum needs to cover other subjects as well.

“Besides technology, marine economy should receive serious attention,” he said, suggesting that ICOPMAS should also include topics like multi-modal transport and port cities in its future editions.

“Seventeen international shipping lines have returned to Iran’s ports since the implementation of the nuclear deal, but we still have a long way to go,” he said.

Akhoundi noted that Iran’s maritime sector has mainly capitalized on freight transport, whereas other potential sources of benefit such as coastal and marine tourism have remained untapped, reports Financial Tribune.

The significance of promoting young talent was the main theme of the speech delivered by Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari.

“Today, the economy of the world is built on innovations of young, educated workforce. Gone is the time when countries were dependent on resources,” he said.

“Iran is the world’s fourth largest producer of engineers; it is home to five million students; ranks ninth in the world in terms of published papers; but it barely has any superior rank in science and technology.”

Referring to the importance of startups and knowledge-based companies, Sattari said, “We need to establish innovation centers in the sector of coasts, ports and marine structures in cooperation with the private sector.”

Keynote speakers on the first day were Prof. Michael Risk from Canada’s McMaster University, who lectured on Iran’s integrated aquaculture; and Prof. Jun Sasaki from Japan’s University of Tokyo, whose lecture centered on strategies and policies for environmental and fisheries restoration in Tokyo Bay.

Iran has been selected to host the 10th International Conference on Coastal and Port Engineering in Developing Countries in 2020 by PIANC-COPEDEC.

Established in 1885, PIANC is engaged in the design, development and maintenance of ports, waterways and coastal areas.

ICOPMAS 2016 maritime engineering