Ports are typically associated with the economy. Think of a port and you might think of shipping containers, economic activity, the transfer of goods from sea to land. But there is strong interest from some port authorities in making their ports more sustainable, and in order to do this effectively you need to get everyone on board.
Recently I’ve been working with Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL), which aims to become a green port. My work has involved running workshops and consulting primarily with staff, but also external stakeholders, to develop a Green Port Master Plan that aligns with the Port’s Strategic Plan.
There are many ways in which the natural environment of a port is effected by human activity. Vessels coming into the port and at berth consume bunker oil or diesel, generating air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The (illegal) dumping of oily bilge water, or dumping of waste is another water based impact, as is the abandoning of vessels. On land there is the impact of incineration of ship waste on air quality, the greenhouse gas and air pollution from cargo handling machinery in terminal operations, and trucks and vehicles. There is also the challenge of litter management, and upstream greenhouse gas emissions from the use of electricity.
The direct environmental impact of a port authority, such as FPCL, is relatively low in relation to the overall environmental impact of all port users. Looking at Port Sustainability from a holistic element involves engaging with both direct stakeholders, such as the terminal operator, vessel operators, shipping agents etc, the general public who use the port to board and disembark from ferries, and governmental organisations with responsibility for maritime safety and the environment. All aboard for Port Sustainability!