Port climate initiatives take the stage

Four ports receive their EcoPorts certificates at GreenPort Congress 2018 Four ports receive their EcoPorts certificates at GreenPort Congress 2018

Climate initiatives including the World Ports Climate Action Program and the World Ports Sustainability Programme took centre stage at the first day of the GreenPort Congress being held in Valencia.

Representatives of two new port cooperation climate initiatives talked about their programmes. Victor Schoenmakers, director corporate strategy, Port of Rotterdam, introduced the World Ports Climate Action Program, which was launched in September 2018 and is a cooperative venture between the ports of Hamburg, Barcelona, Antwerp, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Vancouver and Rotterdam.

“I think it is very important to have frontrunners that take the lead, along with a backup system of other ports, to make very visible that it is a serious business.” Describing the programme as “a coalition of the willing”, Schoenmakers invited ports worldwide to join.

Hot topics

The first two sessions of Congress were moderated by  Rachael White CEO Secretariat, The International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA).

Antonis Michail, Project Coordinator, World Ports Sustainability Programme, International Association of Ports & Harbours (IAPH) spoke about the World Ports Sustainability Programme, which IAPH launched earlier this year.

“We have a big and ambitious agenda,” he said. “WPSP is an umbrella initiative for the international port sector that embeds and brings together all the most important international port-related organisations. We want to highlight the good work ports do on sustainability, working collectively.”

Air quality was another topic in the spotlight in the Congress session. “There is increasing awareness at the European Commission of air quality urgencies,” said Rosa Antidormi, senior policy officer, European Commission – DG Environment.

“With several member states facing legal action on air quality, this might be the right moment to look into further measures and going stricter on air quality issues.” Antidormi said that the Commission was engaged in ongoing cost-benefit studies on the possible establishment of an Emission Control Area (ECA) for the Mediterranean, but added: “If ever there is to be a request to the IMO for this, it has to come from all the countries.”

Environmental Report

Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General, ESPO, presented the organisation’s Environmental Report for European Ports 2018. Nineteen member states participated in the report, which incorporates data from 90 ports. Ms Ryckbost said Valencia’s performance showed that “cargo growth and sustainability can perfectly go together.

”The report found that 97% of participating ports have an inventory of relevant environmental legislation and 93% have defined targets for environmental performance. “In 2013, half of ports had a certified environmental management scheme; we now see seven out of 10 ports have one.”

In addition, 78% of ports consider climate change adaptation when planning new infrastructure projects.Ms Ryckbost addressed the challenges ports face when trying to act sustainably.

“More than ever ports are being asked by policymakers to be responsible for their own income but are asked by the same policymakers to encourage and sometimes to pay for the environmental performance of their stakeholders. Ports can facilitate the work of others but are not tax collectors.”

Lamia Kerdjoudj Belkaid, Secretary General, Feport, said vertical cooperation was increasingly a theme for ports. “It doesn’t make sense to have a regulatory framework only applicable to ports. We need to link ports with the rest of the logistics chain or we have silo solutions which do not work. We don’t need more regulation but need to keep in mind that ports are ‘glocal’, with global services, local geography, local and regional regulation.”

Obdulio Serrano Hidalgo, head of sustainability, Puertos del Estado, said that EU ports volume handled will increase by 50% by 2030 compared to 2011. “Actions we can take include improving rail transport and mobility of trucks in vicinity of ports, and moving traffic away from the city.”

Digitalisation challenge

Malte Siegert, head of environmental policy at NABU, Germany’s biggest NGO, said ports and terminals faced challenges from digitalisation.

“We will need different ships and terminals for the age of 3d printing.” He said the issues ports would need to address include ship sizes, how to optimise ships for energy consumption, and what kinds of goods will be turned over in ports. “Global trading conditions are changing; we are in the middle of a digital revolution that will have a massive impact on value added chains and way ports will work in future.”

Industrial sustainability in an internationally merged port was the topic for Thomas Desnijder, energy policy advisor for cross-border port group North Sea Port. “We are developing a fuel strategy with renewables, such as green low-carbon hydrogen that can be used in logistical applications,” he said.

LNG bunkering and shore power will be part of the mix, along with hydrogen fuelling stations, for which the organisation is tracking data to determine demand hotspots.

Manfred Lebmeier, senior environmental advisor, Port of Hamburg, gave details of the process the port went through to implement onshore power. “We found out we have one terminal where no vessels will use it. Our first learning was: don’t spread it all over, put it where it’s needed.” He said balancing the cost and sustainable sourcing of onshore power was another issue the port faced.

Ton van Breemen, environmental manager, Port of Amsterdam, discussed the port’s Noise Exploration Program to Understand Noise Emitted by Seagoing Ships (NEPTUNES) programme, in which 11 ports are taking part.

“Various ports have been measuring noise from specific ships and we have produced a draft best practice guide,” he said. “We may be able to use it in incentive schemes like ESI and for spatial planning in and around ports.”

Environmental management

Environmental management in terminals was tackled by Francesco Decandia, Grimaldi’s Iberian commercial manager, Grimaldi Group and Javier Andrés, technical/maintenance manager, MSC Terminal Valencia.

For MSC, electrification of all aspects of the terminal is paying dividends, while Grimaldi is looking to 12 new ro-ro hybrid ships that will deliver twice the efficiency per tonne transported of its other vessels.

Andreas Schruth, director of energy and sustainability management, EUROGATE, said his company was on target to reduce energy consumption by 25% by 2020 per transported container, with much of the savings coming from switching to diesel-electric drives and to LED lighting throughout the terminals.

Chris Wooldridge, honorary research fellow, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University, moderated a session that heard from experts in measuring environmental impacts and asked delegates to supply data on their own activities in this regard. “Environmental management isn’t a comfortable thing; it’s a tremendous challenge,” he said.

Douglas Daugherty, Western Region COO & director of strategy, Americas, Ramboll Environment & Health, gave an overview of progress in the PIANC Think Climate Coalition, which has a work group that is considering what the navigation sector can do about greenhouse gases and how it might adapt to a changing climate.

The need for ports to communicate their environmental activities was highlighted by Rosa Mari Darbra, associate professor, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, who said: “The fact that only 57% of ports publish an environmental report is something to work on.Constant monitoring is key to successful environmental management, said Raul Cascajo, Head of Environmental Policies, Valenciaport:

“Valencia has measured greenhouse gases since 2008. Every two years, we calculate our carbon footprint.”

The first day of Congress closed with the announcement that GreenPort Congress 2019 will be hosted by the Port of Oslo, Norway. There was also a presentation of EcoPorts certificates to four ports.

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