Friends and colleagues from across the global maritime industry have been paying heartfelt tribute to Richard Morton, Secretary General of the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA), who has passed away at the age of 50.

Despite battling with illness for many months, Richard remained positive and enthusiastic to the end, his drive undiminished as he continued to support IPCSA members and make ambitious plans for IPCSA’s future.

Born in Suffolk in the UK, Richard spent his early career working in European road, sea and air freight operations. He then joined the private-public sector Haven Gateway Partnership, where as project director he secured and led the Partnership’s participation in European Interreg projects including Portnet, Port Integration, Dryport and Cruise Gateway North Sea.

The European Port Community Systems Association (EPCSA) was created with six founder members in 2011, as a direct outcome of the Dryport project, and Richard was appointed Secretary General. Port Community System operators, along with Cargo (air) Cargo Community and Single Window operators, provide the vital electronic data interchange which is at the heart of smooth cargo flows on sea, land and air, and yet they had never before had a collective voice.

Thanks to Richard’s dedication, determination and enthusiasm, EPCSA grew rapidly, in terms of membership numbers, reputation and influence. In 2014, the association was renamed IPCSA, the international organisation that today has more than 50 members from all regions of the world.

Richard ensured that IPCSA had a voice at the highest levels, from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to the European Union.

He worked to support international organisations on Trade Facilitation and digitalisation, including the United Nations, World Customs Organization, World Trade Organization, European Commission and IMO, and the International Civil Aviation Organization, International Air Transport Association and TIACA, The International Air Cargo Association.

Richard met his wife, Inga, at a Portnet workshop meeting; they settled at Saulkrasti, on the Latvian coast, with daughter Aleksandra. We send our deepest sympathy and condolences to Inga and Aleksandra for their very great loss.

George Kieffer, Chairman of Haven Gateway Partnership, expressed the feelings of all Richard’s former colleagues at HGP: “Richard was an enthusiastic and committed supporter of the ports sector of which he had a deep and passionate understanding. He had so much more to give and will be deeply missed by his family and all his friends and colleagues.”

Hans Rook, chairman of IPCSA, said: “Devastated and deeply saddened, but with an indelible memory of a life marked by huge involvement, cordiality and commitment, we have had to say goodbye to Richard Morton, our dearest friend and Secretary General of IPCSA. We will miss him immensely. We wish Inga and Aleksandra a lot of strength to bear this enormous loss.”