Environmental Port Management – ESPO Tools and Certification

The subject of ports is very important along with the ships because if ports and ships do not work together, they will sink together. It is true that there is too much legislation; there are many legal aspects that both ports and ships face. They have to comply with all these International, European, National and Regional legislation and at the same time to invest in Research and Environmental Improvement and to have good relations with neighbours, local authorities and NGOs. All these result in higher costs for ports and inevitably the environment becomes a competitive factor.

2013.07.18 - Environmental Port Management - ESPO Tools and Certification Figure 1

I think that the approach of the European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) – the Eco Ports Concept – supports ports to face these problems. It is a bottom-up approach to port environmental management. Ports work together in collaborative projects addressing common environmental issues and exchange cost and environmentally effective solutions. In late 90’s, ESPO produced a code of practice (the ESPO Code) to support ports to ascribe to self- regulation. Even though each port is unique, challenges are common and ports gave a sustainable logistics chain. ESPO supports ports and ‘urges’ them to be in compliance with relevant legal frameworks, because many benefits follow such as risk management, positive image, port development, cost saving and market opportunities.

In 2002, the Hellenic Ministry for Mercantile Marine first introduced the idea that Greek ports and Port Authorities become members of EcoPorts. The National Port Policy explicitly stated that ports must implement an environmental management system. In conclusion, during the last decade, a direct implementation of environmental management system in ports started in Greece.

EcoPorts development includes four steps and 4 different tools (see picture below)

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One very useful tool that Eco Ports has developed is the Self Diagnosis Method (SMD). It is a concise checklist for periodical self – evaluation of performance and for identifying risk and establishing priorities. Also, it can be used as a benchmarking tool to compare the performance with other ports. SDM aims at recording the current environmental situation of the port, introducing staff to the principles of sustainable development and support the work of the Board for regular review of environmental performance and policy. SDM supports compliance to the environmental legislation and identifies elements of environmental risk and policy making. You may use this tool by visiting ESPO’s website where in the end, after the analysis, you will get feedback regarding benchmarking and  a GAP and SWOT Analysis in order to use the results in port environmental reporting. The GAP Analysis identifies the gaps between the current management and the European and International Standard requirements (PERS, EMAS, ISO 14001). Another ESPO tool is the Port Environmental Review System (PERS) which is a certification system based on ISO 14001 and issued by Lloyd’s Register. PERS is designed to help with cost saving and improved management control, compliance with legislation and improved environmental performance.

2013.07.18 - Environmental Port Management - ESPO Tools and Certification Figure 3

In Greece, seven ports have already acquired ESPO certification.

Above article is an edited version of Dr. Tselentis, Professor of University of Piraeus, presentation during the 2013 GREEN4SEA Athens Forum.

Click here to view relevant video.

The article was initally published in SAFETY4SEA.

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