How to go about Greening Terminals



Olaf Merk, Administrator Ports and Shipping: the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris, France


There is more and more talk about green port terminals, but what are green terminals, and is greening terminals a real development or just a gig? This article aims to tackle this question by giving an overview of practices applied in port terminals throughout the world. It finally answers the question whether mega-ships will make terminals green or not.

A green terminal

It is important from the outset to make the distinction between green terminals and green ports. In 90% of world ports, operations are conducted by private operators, with regulatory functions and infrastructure maintenance completed by a private operator. A port operator finances the superstructure (equipment), and the port authority the infrastructure. Whereas ports can become greener by focusing on the maritime and the land transport side, terminals will have to focus on their own operations and on the equipment. So, when we talk about terminals, we actually mean port operations.

Therefore the question about what a ‘green terminal’ is, is foremost a question about what green operations are when practiced by terminal operators.

The greenest terminal is a terminal without activity; but this is obviously not the goal of a terminal. So talking about green terminals is not only an absolute matter, but foremost a relative matter: how can terminals have a lot of activity and at the same time be green? This is a question that is very relevant to mega-terminals. Their mega-volumes could…

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