PORT of Newcastle is getting ready to host the inaugural GreenPort Congress Oceania this month.

Delegates from around the world are travelling to Newcastle for the three-day event, which will focus on the theme “balancing environmental challenges with economic demands”.

Sessions will explore climate change, renewable energy, green logistics, financing sustainable port development and maritime projects for 2050, among many other topics.

Though the GreenPort Congress is a long-running industry gathering, this is the first time it will be held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Port of Newcastle chief financial officer Nick Livesey told DCN it seems “a natural fit” for the port to host the inaugural Oceania event.

“Australia overall has been slower than Europe in addressing environmental concerns. Despite a resource heavy economy, however, I think we are now catching up and taking advantage of being a country that has vast amounts of empty, open space with plenty of wind and sun, and so can continue to provide energy to the rest of the world.”

Mr Livesey believes Port of Newcastle has been a leader in driving forward diversification.

“We are committed to driving the principles of sustainability in all aspects of our business and pride ourselves on not just talking about what we can do, but in taking action.

“To date we have made great inroads in delivering against our ambitious environmental, social and governance targets and objectives.”

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the congress will be a significant gathering for the city of Newcastle as well as for the port.

“As host of the inaugural GreenPort Congress Oceania, Port of Newcastle is excited to share our learnings and collaborate with a broad group of like-minded stakeholders, while showcasing beautiful Newcastle, and the capability of our port and the region, to the world,” he said.

“Forming partnerships and sharing knowledge are critical to our ability to create a safe, sustainable, environmentally and socially responsible port for the future.”

This year’s program features presentations from industry leaders and experts representing Port of Newcastle, Pilbara Ports Authority, Maersk, PNG Ports Corporation, DNV Australia, Port Authority of NSW and many, many more.

Networking opportunities, a conference dinner and a tour of the port are also highlights of the program.

“The GreenPort Congress Oceania will bring together highly credentialled port professionals, industry representatives, sustainability experts and academia,” Mr Carmody said.

“Having this level of expertise in the one room is an exciting opportunity not only for the port to share what we have achieved and learned, but to learn how other ports have embraced sustainability in their businesses.

“Being able to showcase how sustainability is central to Port of Newcastle’s business strategy and future plans, and facilitate an international forum that focusses on practical options for addressing the challenges facing ports will benefit not just our Port and the region, but also other ports around Australia and the world.”

Mr Carmody said he hopes attendees come away from the conference with a new-found understanding and appreciation of Newcastle and the inroads it has made in transitioning from the days of BHP to a smart, sustainable and innovative global city.

And Mr Livesey said the GreenPort Congress provides a targeted opportunity for Port of Newcastle to share its journey to being “a global leader in sustainability best practice”.

“We believe it is important to not only understand what is happening in that space in the port sector, but also the shipping lines, distribution centres, producers etcetera.

“If you understand what the challenges your industry, direct customers, ultimate end customers, and suppliers are facing, it puts you in a much stronger position to be able to react, support, help and benefit.”

GreenPort Congress Oceania 2023 will run from 15-17 February at the Newcastle Exhibition and Convention Centre.

The conference is run by Port Strategy, a UK-based industry media outlet.