France: GreenPort Congress Addresses Port Development Methods
Nearly 200 environmental experts came together to discuss the role of ports, terminal operators and shipping companies in working towards sustainable operations.
The 7th edition of Congress was held the first week of October 2012 in Marseille, the former ancient Greek merchant port and one of the biggest port cities on the Mediterranean Sea.
The theme of the first day revolved around ‘Managing the impact of emissions and discharges from ships’ and ‘Innovative solutions for Green terminal operations’. During the opening session, European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik stated in his video message that port authorities need to play a pro-active role in order to deal with emissions, waste and nature conservation. In his welcome speech, Jean-Claude Terrier, CEO of the Port of Marseille Fos referred to the current economic and financial crisis which confirms the urgent need to review port development methods, as ports have an economic and social responsibility for the regions they contribute to. In addition, ESPO Chairman, Victor Schoenmakers, emphasised the need for guidance and implementation of Treaty rules while referring to the European Ports Policy Review.
During the conference the ports of Calais and Moerdijk were presented with their EcoPorts PERS certificate Awards. The certification verifies that the ports’ environmental management programmes are in line with the requirements set by the EcoPorts PERS, the only port sector specific environmental management standard.
At the end of day one, ESPO presented its new ‘Green Guide; Towards excellence in port environmental management and sustainability’. The new Guide fully revises and updates the last Environmental Code of Practice that was produced almost ten years ago. Going a step further than previous editions, and after re-establishing the ports’ vision in sustainability, the Guide introduces a common framework for action under 5 Es; Exemplify, Enable, Encourage, Engage and Enforce. This action framework is applied to five selected environmental issues; air quality, energy conservation and climate change, noise management, waste management and water management.
On day two, the conference continued with a session devoted to Marseille which focused on ‘How to enhance port-city integration’. During this session, different players from the ports of Marseille and Fos introduced the numerous ongoing redevelopment projects being undertaken in conjuction with the City of Marseille. Projects include the research and application of environmental solutions for diversifying their energy mix, their atmospheric impact and biodiversity.
The penultimate session of day two covered the ‘Green logistics chain’, in which Dimitrios Theologitis, Head of Unit for Ports and Inland Navigation at DG Move gave an overview of the different steps DG Move has taken in creating the legislation for the transport sector. He also referred to the ongoing Ports Policy Review and the consideration of DG Move to have a Green Certification for ports.
The day ended with presentations illustrating ‘Ongoing port environmental sustainability projects’. The Environmental Port Index, which has the objective of ensuring steady progress towards a coherent and comprehensive approach to reduce air emissions and greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, was presented here. Finally the concept “Green corridors” was introduced, an action of the “Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan” of the European Commission, which pursues a corridor approach in developing integrated, efficient and environmentally friendly transportation of freight between major hubs and by relative long distances.
The week started at the Welcome Reception, hosted by Marseill Fos Port Authority, who also hosted the Conference dinner, and it ended as it began, with much discussion and networking. The Port Tour started in the Vieux Port, the heart of Marseille, and from here delegates went on to see the many faces of this busy Port. More than 50 delegates enjoyed the Tour and all on board enjoyed the opportunity to enjoy the sun and fresh air after two days of listening to presentations and participating in discussion and debate.
Next year, the GreenPort Congress is heading to the North Sea, where the Port of Antwerp will be hosting the 8th Congress in October 2013. During the hand over in Marseille, Guy Janssens, Policy Manager at the Port of Antwerp, accepted the baton from Geraldine Planque, Advisor to the president of the Strategic Development Council at the Port of Marseille Fos.
Press Release, October 16, 2012