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UAE: WPTS 2012 - Maritime Industry Key to Driving Global Sustainability Agenda

Posted on Mar 6th, 2012 with tags , , , , , , , , , , .

Environmentally sustainable practices in the maritime industry are critical to driving the global agenda on sustainability, industry experts have said ahead of the second edition of the World Ports and Trade Summit (WPTS) 2012.

WPTS 2012 is being held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The year 2012 marks 20 years since the Rio Earth Summit, which created the concept of sustainable development, and 40 years since the first United Nations Conference on Human Environment in 1972. It is estimated that nearly 80% of global trade by volume is currently transported by sea. One in every 30 tonnes of CO2 generated by human activity today comes from a ship. The industry’s relentless growth looks set to continue over the coming decades with rising population and living standards.

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development later this year is expected to discuss green economy and the institutional framework for sustainable development. The World Ports and Trade Summit (WPTS) will see the attendance of several industry leaders driving this change participate in a series of debates and panel discussions, including the regional agenda for “sustainable maritime development.”

“Sustainable maritime practices are central to the debate on global sustainable development. The vast majority of global trade is today carried out using ships that carry fuel, raw materials and finished goods between continents. The official CO2 figures for 2010 tell us that overall emissions increased by 6%, at a time when half the world’s economies were flat-lining in terms of economic growth. With unpredictable fuel price spikes, changing customer demands, many in the shipping industry are starting to recognize that Sustainability goes hand in hand with commercial success,” said Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future, a leading United Kingdom-based charity that works with public and private sector entities to adopt and accelerate change to sustainable ways of business.

Porritt, who is one of the keynote speakers at WPTS 2012, added, “Traditionally, improvements in the environmental performance of shipping have been driven largely by regulatory responses to high profile incidents. However, in recent years the industry has started to take a more proactive stance. Northern European shipping had previously led the way in sustainable shipping, but again, this is changing. Over the last few years, we’re seeing Asia start to take up the banner of sustainability, as major shipping companies, ship builders, and countries such as China taking an active interest in the commercial opportunities arising from building and operating cleaner, more efficient fleets.”

“WPTS can be a great platform to support sustainable maritime practices, especially in the region, by bringing together representatives from companies and organizations in big economic sectors and those who directly impact the business of shipping,” Porritt added.

Worldwide there is a greater adoption of low sulphur fuels and cold ironing - wherein ships turn off their engines - as means of reducing overall emission levels. The United States and Europe are leading the trend in such measures. However, there is an opportunity for emerging ports to incorporate sustainability into their maritime infrastructure by addressing challenges at the inception stage.

Khalifa Port, which opens this year in Abu Dhabi, will include a breakwater to protect coral reefs in the Emirate and an offshore port with rail link to reduce emissions arising from use of road transport after goods are unloaded from ships. It also has the capacity to supply electric power to ships from the shore. Other green features include:

• Electric powered automatic stacking cranes

• Diesel electric straddle carriers which give lower consumption than diesel hydraulic models

• All port cranes designed to deliver power back to the network while lowering the loads

• Future full automation possible with full electric machines

WPTS 2012 is scheduled to be held in Abu Dhabi from April 2-4. Jointly organised by Turret Media and Seatrade, The World Ports & Trade Summit is sponsored by Bechtel, DNV, Emirates Aluminium (emal), Union National Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and supported by: Abu Dhabi Terminals, Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi Chamber, UNIDO and The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).

World Maritime News Staff, March 6, 2012; Image: WPTS


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