PIANC APAC 2020 is a biennial conference series focusing on harbours, ports and recreational boating in the Asia Pacific region.



Francisco Esteban Lefler

PIANC – The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure

Francisco was born in Madrid (Spain) and has a Masters in Civil Engineering (EQF7) by Madrid Polytechnic University (1980) and Master in Construction and Electricity Engineering by Army Superior Polytechnic School.

After serving in the Directorate of Infrastructure of the Ministry of Defence (1980-1993), Francisco joined Puertos del Estado (State Ports, Ministry of Development) as Head of the Department of Projects (1993-1994). In 1994 started his career in FCC Construcción where, after holding several positions, he was designated Technical Director in 2015 with responsibilities of technical support to Works and Tenders.

Francisco started PIANC activities in 1999:

  • PIANC President since June 2019
  • Board of Management of the Technical Association of Ports and Coasts (Asociación Técnica de Puertos y Costas) and Spanish Delegation to PIANC since 1999
  • Chairman of MarCom (Maritime Navigation Commission) of PIANC 2011-2019
  • President of Asociación Técnica de Puertos y Costas 2015-2019

Francisco participates regularly in Courses, Congresses, Seminars, workshops and Roundtables, as a Lecturer, Speaker, Session Chairman and Chairman or member of Organising and Technical Committees. He has the following distinctions:

2nd Class Naval Merit Cross
2nd Class Military Merit Cross
Japanese Association of Ports and Harbours Planning Award 2015 as MarCom Chairman


Nicole Lockwood

Independent Chair, Westport Taskforce

Nicole Lockwood is the Independent Chair of the Westport Taskforce, the cross-agency government project team delivering a long-term infrastructure plan to drive the freight future of Perth and surrounding regions for the next 50 years and beyond.

Nicole is also Chair of both the Freight and Logistics Council of Western Australia and MNG; Deputy Chair of Infrastructure WA and Leadership WA; and a Board member of the Water Corporation. Nicole completed her nine-year term as a Board member for Infrastructure Australia in late 2019.

With a background in law and regional economic development, Nicole specialises in working with government and the private sector to develop long-term infrastructure plans to secure the future prosperity and liveability of our cities.


Geert Van Cappellen

PIANC– The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure

Geert Van Cappellen was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1978.

He has a Master in international economics and two postgraduates (Industrial Policy) and (Port Management).

His career started at the Flemish Nautical Authority in 2001. In 2006 he became policy advisor for Inland Navigation at the Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works.

Since 2013 Geert is Managing Director of FITA (Flanders International Technical Agency) with the aim to contribute to sustainable infrastructure in other countries by providing technical assistance.

He is also member of the Board of Directors of APEC, the Antwerp-Flanders Port Training Center, which plays a central role in the transfer of port knowledge from Flanders to the world.

In 2017 he became Secretary-General of PIANC, the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure. As a non-political and non-profit organization, PIANC brings together the best international experts pertaining to waterborne transport infrastructures. Members include national governments and public authorities, corporations and interested individuals. PIANC is the leading partner for governments and private sector in the sustainable design, development and maintenance of ports, waterways and coastal areas.

Dr Burton C. Suedel

Research Biologist
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Vicksburg, MS, USA

Dr. Suedel is a research biologist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Environmental Laboratory in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Dr. Suedel’s research interests include investigating ways in which environmental enhancements can be incorporated into navigation and port infrastructure planning. He has received international recognition for applying the EWN initiative in practice at multiple USACE navigation and coastal projects. He is the Principle U.S. representative to the PIANC Environmental Commission and currently mentors EnviCom Working Group 214 on sediment beneficial use, and is the U.S. representative to InCom WG 203 on sustainable inland navigation.

Additional enquiries should be directed to the Conference Secretariat: Encanta Event Management T: +61 3 9863 7609 E: lexie.duncan@encanta.com.au