World Ports Sustainability Report hones in on Port-city dialogue

Brooklyn skyline from Staten Island, and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

The World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP) has released its report for 2020 as part of its aim to enhance and coordinate future sustainability efforts of ports worldwide, fostering international cooperation with partners in the supply chain.

Led by the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), the World Ports Sustainability Report 2020 confirms a focus on community outreach and port-city dialogue.

“When we launched the World Ports Sustainability Program two years ago, our prime objectives were to create an online portfolio of port sustainability projects and to set up a platform that would also offer a think-tank and breeding ground for new sustainability initiatives,” said IAPH Managing Director and overall coordinator of the programme, Patrick Verhoeven, commented

“We have delivered on these objectives. With 120 projects from 71 ports, covering 38 countries and five continents, the WPSP Portfolio is becoming a global treasure trove on sustainable port development.

“We also had another objective in mind when we set up the programme and that was to regularly report on the sustainability performance of the global ports sector,” he said.

“With this World Ports Sustainability Report we present our next deliverable.”

Inside the report

The report follows the thematic structure of the World Ports Sustainability Program and provides information on how ports are investing in resilient infrastructure, climate and energy, community outreach and port-city dialogue, safety and security and governance and ethics.

““Our report concludes that community outreach and port-city dialogue are on top of ports’ agendas worldwide. With ports being granted their license to operate and grow by their own local communities, the result is logical,” explained Dr Antonis Michail, author of the report as WPSP Technical Director.

“Climate and energy and resilient infrastructure also score relatively high, which confirms efforts motivated by external societal, political and commercial pressures to embrace decarbonization and digitalization. It is in these two areas of interest where we also see the highest frequency of activities in terms of collaborative projects on the WPSP platform where IAPH is taking either a leading or partnering role.”

Governance and ethics and safety and security would appear to be underdeveloped areas in need of more attention, although the recent crisis caused by COVID-19 is already shifting focus of ports towards both areas of interest.

In the recent WPSP Task Force COVID-19 guidance document for ports, an additional best practice section on humanitarian actions adopted by IAPH member ports will now be added based on the feedback of the Task Force members which go above and beyond short-term actions in response to the impact of COVID-19 on port communities.

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