CHAMPIONING environmental responsibility has helped Port of Newcastle become the first port in Australia or New Zealand to commit to environmental sustainability standards set by EcoPorts.

The port has been granted membership of the International EcoPorts network, after completing assessments to meet environmental and sustainability practices against 120 major ports around the world.

Port of Newcastle environmental adviser Jackie Spiteri said the organisation had chosen to be a pioneer as part of its push for continuous improvement.

“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.”

Newcastle has confirmed it plans to further expand automation and electrification to improve efficiency, cut emissions and reduce its environmental impact.

The port’s $33m Newcastle Bulk Terminal upgrade – which has a new ship unloader with modern crane and conveyor infrastructure – is said to be an example of committing to safety and environmental compliance.

The port also looking to cut fuel, power and water consumption.

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.

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EcoPorts science coordinator and senior trainer Dr Christopher Wooldridge said the proactive approach of Port of Newcastle “identifies the port as an exemplar of good practice”.

Ms Spiteri is to attend the Ports Australia Conference in March to share the organisation’s experience in embracing the EcoPorts Environmental Management System 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 tested against best practice management by Lloyds Register and is understood to be the only system of its type in the world.

Developed in 1997, EcoPorts remains the only environmental management standard specific to the global port sector.

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