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Achieving ISO 28000 one port at a time

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Author(s): David Fairnie, Security Advisor, DP World, Dubai, UAE

Last year, DP World became the world’s first global terminal operator to gain ISO/PAS 28000 certification the highest level of security standards in our industry.

ISO/PAS 28000:2005 is the management system that DP World has adopted as the base standard for implementing and managing its corporate security policies. The international system underpins all of DP World’s internal and external security initiatives and activities. As a consequence of DP World’s adoption and  implementation of the standard, its network of ports will have the ability to effectively implement mechanisms and processes to address any security vulnerabilities at strategic and operational levels, as well as establish preventive action plans.

All terminals will also be required to continually assess security measurements in place to both protect its business interests and ensure compliance with  international regulatory requirements such as the ISPS Code and other international supply chain security initiatives. The standard will complement all international security legislative codes DP World already conforms to at its terminals.

Our goal is to have every one of our global network of 42 terminals certified. So far, three of our terminals have met the requirements – Djibouti, Vancouver and Caucedo, DR – as well as our corporate headquarters in Dubai. We anticipate another dozen of our terminals will be certified by the end of the year, while all ten of our development projects are being designed to meet ISO/PAS 28000.

When we first achieved the certification in September 2006, DP World Chairman, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, said: “We are delighted to have achieved this  certification. This is the very first time that any global company in our industry has met such a rigorous international standard, and is testament to DP World’s   commitment to the highest security management practices. It is impossible to overstate the importance security plays in our business, to our customers and to DP World.”

Security goals

But how exactly does ISO/PAS 28000 help us achieve our security goals?

First, we believe such global standards, independently audited, are the bedrock of any attempts to bring greater security to the global supply chain, which is growing in size and complexity every year. Second, it allows us to better coordinate security operations with our customers and partners. Third, it is good for business and our commercial bottom line. Fourth, it stakes out our position as a global leader on security and a model for others to emulate. I will expand on each of these points below.

Global standards

First, we require global standards, which help stitch together the layers of the maritime security system. Without standards like ISO/PAS 28000 we cannot implement effective securityplanning across the myriad actors involved in the supply chain. Like the ISPS code before it, ISO/PAS 28000 provides a strong foundation – as long as  it underpins a global approach and is not superseded by unilateral or bilateral initiatives by countries.  It can also provide a model for future global standards, which will be essential if envisioned container scanning programs come to fruition. The fact that ISO certification is only achieved after an independent audit by a third party contributes to the robust application of the standards and the consistency of approach across the globe.

Operational efficiency

Second, on the operational level, ISO 28000 enables DP World and our partners to more effectively coordinate security initiatives and programmes through a set of common standards. Crucially, these standards require continued improvement and testing of the security systems, which allows us to address vulnerabilities secure in the thought that our partners in the supply chain are doing the same. In addition, our dedication to adopting these standards throughout our terminal network reflects our core value of investing in our facilities and people – with first-rate security a primary objective.

Business sense

Third, ISO/PAS 28000 certification is also good business. Having certification sends a clear message to our customers, partners and employees that we are  committed to protecting their interests as well as our own. Or, to put it another way, we are determined to avoid the commercial disadvantages that are inherent with real or even perceived insecurity.

Customers entrust hundreds of millions of dollars worth of their assets and their customers’ assets to our terminals and therefore we see effective, consistent security as an absolutely fundamental, baseline customer service. But as well as having a responsibility to our customers, we also have a responsibility to our people and the communities in which we operate, and we need to safeguard our assets.

Interestingly we have already seen a net gain on our bottom line: while we have incurred costs to reach the certification, we have also realized savings. In our pilot project, the required security management practices encouraged more efficient use of resources to ensure security priorities were met. The savings could also extend to insurance premiums: the certification follows the same risk mitigation principles that the insurance industry use to calculate premiums.


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