Out with the old and in with the new

30 Jan 2017

A very happy belated new year to you, we’d like to wish all of our supporters and readers a very prosperous 2017.

What does the new year mean to you? Does it fill you full of optimism or are you focused more on the challenges that the new year may bring?

The ports industry will probably see a good mix of both opportunities and challenges as it does most years. But one thing is for sure. Increasingly in the future, ports and terminals will be held to account for their actions through tighter green regulation.

The adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change in late 2016 shifted the responsibility for reaching greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals to individual countries. As a result, companies will be required to account for the impact of their activities on an international basis.

Whether individuals see increased regulation as an opportunity or a challenge is very much down to the eye of the beholder though.

The opportunists out there see it as long overdue opportunity to clean up operations, become more efficient, save money in the long run and reduce climate change. But the opposing team will see increased regulation as more red tape, more expensive and time consuming, which could impact negatively on the industry.

Nonetheless, change is coming.

The port authority of the future will have to supply GHG data to their tenants so climate change adaptation should be high on the agenda for any operation. But the overarching conclusion from the recent GreenPort Cruise and Congress tells us that there is no one size fits all, so how should they do it?

It is worth noting though that everyone can do their bit. For example, one small change to one small component of the design of port infrastructure can save thousands of tonnes of carbon.

While updating or converting dirty outdated port equipment, (even down to the lights that they use) could save an operator both time and money in the long run.

The Winter 2016/17 issue of GreenPort is full of examples, large and small of how ports and terminals are looking at the bigger picture when it comes to green strategy.

The Port of Long Beach and Vancouver in this issue are are shining examples of this. Both are constrained by strict regulation, one by the Clean Air Act of California, and the other by planned regulation on noise emissions to protect its surrounding marine life. Both are largely focused on reducing the impact of port activities on the local community which is resulting in huge benefits in terms of education and health.

So whether your operation is looking at a tree planting exercise, health workshops, monitoring and taking action on noise emissions, or even just getting better with waste or getting more clever with port lighting.

Keep up the good work. What you’re doing is making a positive difference to both your operations and to the environment as a whole. And it will serve your business well when tighter regulation does come into force.