written by

IAPH announces the winning projects of the World Ports Sustainability Awards

IAPH 2020 World Ports Conference 9 min read

Winners announced in six categories, representing the five areas of interest of the World Ports Sustainability Program:


Collaborative Projects : Green and Connected (Green C) Ports Project


Collaborative Projects : The LOOP-Ports Project

COMMUNITY OUTREACH & PORT CITY DIALOGUE (Focus area 1 : Port development and 'license to operate')

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore : Singapore's Next Generation Tuas Port Project

COMMUNITY OUTREACH & PORT CITY DIALOGUE (Focus area 2 : Addressing the externalities of the port operations)

Port of Vigo : Sunset Dock Project


Port of Açu – Emergency Preparedness Project


Dutch Seaports – Applying the OECD Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct

Antwerp, Belgium - 24 June 2020

The IAPH 2020 World Ports Conference, due to take place between 17 - 19 March, was also due to announce the winners of the World Ports Sustainability Awards at a Gala Dinner for delegates. Sadly, due to the COVID19 crisis, the event had to be cancelled. Nonetheless, IAPH announces, online, the winners of the six categories up for nomination for the IAPH 2020 World Ports Sustainability Awards.

IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven comments :

"Having to announce the winners virtually rather than in person at the wonderful Antwerp Bourse is a great pity. Nonetheless, we believe the winners should have their selection by the expert jury and by the voting public celebrated, hence these virtual awards. We would also like to heartily congratulate them as well as recognising the other finalists for their outstanding projects, and save the celebrations for less trying times.

Our message to both our winners and runners-up is this : you set the bar in applying the UN Sustainable Development Goals in practice in ports. May many other ports in the world be inspired by your initiatives. From all of us at IAPH and the World Ports Sustainability Program : warm wishes, be safe and we look forward to celebrating your successes in the future."

Winner : Green and Connected (Green C) Ports Project

Demonstrating true innovation in resilient infrastructure, the Green C Ports project pilots the use of sensors, big data and artificial intelligence to : reduce the impact of port operations on their cities, monitors emissions from ports and vessels and optimizes performance of port operations in the EU TEN-T Core Network.

The project is coordinated by Fundación Valencia Port with ten other partners including the Piraeus and North Adriatic Seaport Authorities. It involves six specific case studies, aiming to :

  • decrease port traffic congestion and reduce CO2 emissions by 10% from trucks in the Port of Valencia;
  • optimise vessel calls at the Port of Venice before and after port closure due to bad meteorological conditions;
  • predict air quality levels in the Ports of Valencia and Piraeus, generating notifications to government institutions when certain emission levels are exceeded;
  • forecast noise quality levels in the Ports of Valencia and Piraeus also notifying government institutions when certain emission levels are exceeded;
  • estimate impact on ship-to-shore crane productivity if affected by waves, currents and wind, sending warnings 48 hours in advance to vessels calling at the Ports of Wilhelmshaven and Bremerhaven;
  • inform shippers about actual emissions generated by their shipments in door-to-door transport chains between the Iberian peninsula and the Balearic Islands

Co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union, the project also aims to develop a Port Environmental Performance IT platform that will receive real time data from the sensor networks and from existing operating systems in each port.

Winner : The LOOP-Ports Project

The LOOP-Ports project analyses a circular economy (CE) approach for a network of EU ports. This is where products, materials and resources are maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and waste is minimised.

44 stakeholders from 14 EU countries are already engaged in the project : 32 Port Authorities, 4 Public Authorities, 3 Industry associations, 4 Port Associations (ESPO, BPO, Medports and Danske Havn) and 1 Environmental Organisation. Following a complete mapping on circular economic activities (more than 450 ports analysed and 200 CE activities identified), key success cases and an in-depth analysis of the main barriers and enablers are being identified. Ad-hoc training materials are being developed with more than 25 workshops on CE being organised with key stakeholders. The aim is to replicate 7 business models and develop a tailored web tool showing the project results which is already live, listing concrete initiatives.

Co-winning an unprecedented second Award, Fundación Valencia Port is coordinating the LOOP-Ports – Circular Economy Network of Ports. Funded by EIT Climate-KIC, it is the first project analysing the CE approach for ports from the European Union.

Winner, Focus area 1 : Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore - Singapore's Next Generation Tuas Port Project

Sustainability is integral to the construction of Tuas Port project. To adapt to rising sea levels, Tuas port will have an operational platform of 5 m above mean sea level (MSL). More than 50% of the total fill materials for Phases 1 and 2 are dredged material and excavated earth from construction projects. During construction, corals were relocated, with a survival rate of 80%.

Tuas Port will become the world’s single largest container port, capable of handling up to 65 million TEUs annually. From planning to its four-phase implementation, Tuas Port will provide a single, consolidated location for Singapore’s container activities. This will significantly reduce inter-terminal haulage operations and GHG emissions.

Tuas Port will be a digital and automated port with just-in-time operations and electrified port equipment.

In order to protect marine habitats and sensitive commercial water intakes, environmental impact assessments were conducted. Strict environmental quality objectives were applied during the reclamation works. A S$6 million programme relocated impacted corals along with nature volunteers and non-governmental organisations.

Winner, Focus area 2 : Port of Vigo : Sunset Docks Project

The Sunset Docks project forms an integral part of the Port of Vigo’s Blue Growth strategy. The project develops innovative practices to achieve sustainability goals by : recovering the good state of marine ecosystems in the port area, promoting awareness of ecosystem conservation in the port area, and reducing carbon emissions through CO2 capture techniques.

Located on the bay “Ria de Vigo”on the Northwest coast coast of Spain, Port of Vigo is a natural port sheltered from the ocean, surrounded by the National Park “Illas Atlánticas” and other natural protected areas. This location is an important zone for artesian fishing and aquaculture. “Sunset Docks” project was created to develop innovative practices that practically achieve sustainability objectives by:

  • Restoration and development of marine ecosystems in the port area
  • Promoting awareness of ecosystem conservation in the port area
  • Reducing carbon emissions through CO2 capture techniques

A study is underway to create a marine natural ecosystem in the port waters to protect and increase the biodiversity in the port. The design and installation of structures for colonization by species of fauna and flora is on-going. The first successful outcomes are already evident. Sunset Docks project is also aimed for local companies, research institutions and technological centres to share knowledge and technology. The Sunset Docks monitoring and dissemination plan aims to offering the local community a live experience where they can follow the process of marine habitats colonization and restoration.

Winner : Port of Açu – Emergency Preparedness Project

This project was implemented in response to a 2019 oil spill off the coast of Brazil. It highlights the important role ports can play in emergency response actions. Port of Açu is strategically located with its terminals providing specialised offshore support to oil companies. The Port set up a multi-faceted taskforce, carrying out drills, community engagement, wildlife monitoring and drone flights as part of the project.

In 2019 an oil spill reached more than 2,000 km of the Brazilian coast in an unprecedented incident of catastrophic proportions. More than 5,000 tons of oil waste was collected from shores in 11 states, a volume 20 times larger than the sum of all oil incidents reported since 2012. The origin of the spill remains unknown.

The incident shed light on the challenges related to the ability to respond to major oil incidents. As connecting nodes between land and sea, ports are key stakeholders for collaborating on emergency response actions. They concentrate significant emergency resources, act as support base for sea operations and are ideally placed to gather those involved in an emergency response.

Table-top and fully operational drills with booms, clean-ups and containment simulations, wildlife monitoring and drone supervision flights have all been tested and implemented as part of the Port of Açu Emergency Preparedness Project.

The Port Administration as well as the Navy, together with companies and terminals operating at Port of Açu, conducted lectures and campaigns with local community representatives as well as fishermen. They advised them on monitoring and reinforced safety and clean-up procedures. The Port of Açu engaged preventively by means of integrated actions, setting safety standards that can actively respond to emergency spill situations.

Winner : Dutch Seaports – Applying the OECD Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct

A study was conducted on the relevance and application of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for and by Dutch seaports. This resulted in a list of cargo flows that call for greater attention by the port authorities. A step-by-step approach was also developed on how to actuate due diligence. This helps individual ports draft a plan at their own pace while highlighting the elements that require inter-port collaboration.

Dutch seaports rank among the world’s key logistics hubs for the storage and trans-shipment of international cargo flows. These include as liquid bulk (such as gasoline), minerals and agri-products (including cocoa). They also serve comparatively new cargo flows arising from the emergence of bio-based and circular economies.

The production of these flows, however, can cause environmental damage, poor working conditions and/ or human rights violations. Protection of people, enforcement and/or supervision of regulations can remain flawed.

Dutch seaports decided to join forces to investigate their own roles and responsibilities as well as identifying potential actions to reduce the CSR risks associated with international cargo flows. This joint initiative has since been incorporated into the Maritime Strategy and Seaports Programme (2018-2025) of the Dutch government.

To begin with, a study was conducted on the relevance and application of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNE’s) for and by seaports. These guidelines were found to be relevant.

With the OECD’s due diligence standard front-of-mind, the Dutch seaports then carried out a CSR assessment of their current and prospective cargo flows.

This exercise resulted in a comprehensive list of cargo flows that call for greater attention by the port authorities.

A step-by-step approach was also developed to assist individual ports draft a plan at their own pace. Elements requiring inter-port collaboration were highlighted. Two pilot studies were made on the role, influence and possibilities of seaports to promote responsible Palm Oil and E-Waste chains from an OECD perspective.

The project has enhanced the Dutch ports’ mutual reliance and cohesion. It has also created a level playing field as well as knowledge transfer between them. Together, the ports can engage different stakeholder groups (NGOs, the government, traders and customers) more effectively, jointly promoting the ports’ licenses to operate.

Our sincere thanks go to the winners, the runners-up and all the ports and voters who participated in this year's edition of the IAPH World Ports Sustainability Awards competition.