Port of Newcastle has become the first port in Australia or New Zealand to commit to meeting global environmental and sustainability standards as set by EcoPorts.

The port was this month granted membership of the International EcoPorts network, having completed rigorous assessments to benchmark its environmental and sustainability practices against 120 major ports across Europe, Asia, North America and South America.

Developed in 1997, EcoPorts remains the only Environmental Management Standard (EMS) specific to the global port sector.

Port of Newcastle environmental adviser Jackie Spiteri said the organisation had chosen to be a pioneer in the region as part of its commitment to continuous improvement as a resilient and sustainable port.

“Port of Newcastle is pleased to be part of a global network of ports operating within an established environmental and sustainability framework that understands and actively addresses the complex aspects of port operations,” Ms Spiteri said.

“We not only commit to meeting EcoPort’s world’s-best practice standards, but will work with other ports across the region to champion the environmental and sustainability benefits available for the maritime industry.”

It comes as Port of Newcastle confirmed its intention to further expand automation and electrification of the port in an effort to improve efficiency, reduce emissions and minimise its environmental impact.

The port’s $33 million Newcastle Bulk Terminal upgrade – which features a new ship unloader with state-of-the-art crane and conveyor infrastructure – is one example of how the organisation is committed to the latest in safety and environmental compliance.

The port is also continuing to reduce fuel, power and water consumption across its operations in order to reduce its environmental impact.

ECO Sustainable Logistics Chain Foundation chairman Herman Journée said EcoPorts was “developed by ports for ports”.

“EcoPorts PERS Certified ports combine improvement of the environmental impact of their operations and risk prevention with business improvement and improved contacts with authorities,” Mr Journée said.

“The EcoPorts Network shares good practice experience in daily policy and operations and stimulates sustainability of the port sector.”

Dr Christopher Wooldridge – EcoPorts science coordinator and senior trainer – said: “The proactive approach being taken by Port of Newcastle to the key issues of environment and sustainability identifies the port as an exemplar of good practice”.

“It is well-placed to be a catalyst for action throughout the region as ports exchange knowledge and experience through the EcoPorts Network.”

Ms Spiteri will attend the Ports Australia Conference in March to share the organisation’s experience in embracing the EcoPorts Environmental Management System in a bid to encourage other ports across Australia and New Zealand to make a similar commitment.

Port of Newcastle is now working towards achieving certification under EcoPort’s Port Environmental Review System, which is independently tested against best practice management by Lloyds Register and is the only system of its type in the world.

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