Urban European ports and businesses that surround them are managing a difficult task striving to improve operational efficiencies and minimise environmental impact to growing communities surrounding them.
That is according to Envirosuite’s business development manager, Marinma Dorado, who is working with European ports to implement technologies for pro-active management and rapid response to environmental issues. She has witnessed first hand that ports are becoming acutely aware of the need for sustainable leadership.
“At Envirosuite we have noticed based on our conversations with major European Ports that they are becoming acutely aware of the challenge of implementing socially and environmentally responsible business practices,” she said.
“They need to ensure they reduce operational expenditures and improve stakeholder relations, as well as increase profitability and competitive advantage.”
According to EuroStat, there are currently 3029 shipping ports registered in Europe. 91% of these ports are urban ports – surrounded by dense communities with growing populations. Furthermore, the dense urban communities that surround these ports also rely heavily on imported goods from these ports.
As European shipping ports continue to grow in size, and demand for imported goods continues to grow, Envirosuite has observed ‘Sustainability Leadership’ must be the industry’s key priority, says Ms Dorado.
Key metrics of sustainability leadership will include balancing operational performance, environmental sustainability and managing community requirements.
These metrics have often been difficult to achieve simultaneously in the past, and provide ports across Europe and the UK with a new challenge. Often shipping ports can get stuck in a vicious cycle of trying to minimise environmental impact, while not have a clear picture of that impact is or where it is coming from.
Ms Dorado says that as part of their commitment to sustainable leadership, European ports need to always stay several steps ahead of regulations in terms of air quality, emissions, odour and community engagement, to avoid public scrutiny.
As shipping ports are their own industrial ecosystem, they have multiple businesses surrounding ports which also have commitments to respect the environment in terms of air quality, emissions and odour.
These business already desire to be ‘good neighbours’ too and maintain their social license to operate with the communities nearby. Marinma Dorado has observed that European ports are open to collaboration with these business as part of their commitment to adopting sustainable leadership.
“We have noticed based on our conversations that maritime authorities and heavy industrial businesses in their vicinity have the same goals regarding sustainability.,” she said.
“They want to minimise environmental impact and upkeep their reputation in the community. That requires them to stay ahead of regulation, but also be open to collaboration with the maritime authorities.”
In the same trend as all industries, ports are currently going through a period of digital disruption. New technologies are providing the answer for inefficient and challenging processes, like that posed by proactive management of air quality emissions says Ms Dorado.
It’s also clear that European ports and surrounding businesses entities can’t leave air quality emissions to chance. They will need monitor emissions in real time and use the “big data” that comes from that continuous monitoring proactively to take action and make better operational decisions.
Furthermore, they will need to embrace the capability to predict potential air quality issues and adapt their operations to minimise impact in the community.
Ms Dorado says that it’s collaboration over this data and actionable insights that will give shipping ports and surrounding businesses the ideal step towards adopting sustainable leadership.