Environmental Best Practice Port Development: An Analysis of International Approaches

Identifying best practice environmental standards

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3.4Identifying best practice environmental standards

International best practice for managing the environmental impacts outlined in Table was identified through a literature review and case studies of ports displaying advanced environmental management or standards.

3.4.1Literature review

A literature review identified how environmental protection is approached by international ports. Some practices at Australian ports may match or surpass these examples; however in order to provide an impartial review that can be applied in Australia, Australian ports and practices were not considered as part of the literature review.

The review first considered how environmental issues are typically managed in ports and the standard approaches employed and results achieved. This assessment then enabled practices that went above and beyond standard practice to be identified and analysed as to whether they might constitute best practice.

Information on environmental management shows various levels of peer review, rigour and independence. Sources reviewed are listed below in order of their independence from individual port management:

  • Internationally recognised and independent sources, including publications from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC), International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) and Central Dredging Association (CEDA)

  • Continent/country specific organisations, such as the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA)

  • Technical and research papers presented as part of conferences or journals

  • Publications, studies and websites commissioned or published by individual port authorities.

A full reference list is contained in Section 13.

The findings from the literature review provide an insight into the management framework required to enable best practice followed by detailed information on management practices for environmental issues and risks.

3.4.2Case studies

A sample of international ports has been reviewed to identify examples of best practice. Initially twelve ports across Europe, Asia and America were selected for analysis based on their relevance to the study and similarities to Australian ports, including proximity to sensitive marine environments or World Heritage Areas, import or export of large quantities of commodities, and environmental credentials such as nominations for environmental awards or reported good practices. During the course of the literature review additional examples of best practice were identified and included in the case studies to enable analysis of a broader range of management practices used to address environmental impacts and risks. The international ports referenced in this study are:

Port of Antwerp, Belgium

Port Metro Vancouver, Canada

Port of Helsinki, Finland

Port of Saint-Nazariare, France

Ports of Bremen/Bremenhaven, Germany

Port of Hamburg, Germany

Port Dhamra, India

Port of Dublin, Ireland

Port of Ashdod, Israel

Port of Genoa, Italy

Port of Yokohama, Japan

Port of Le Havre, Netherlands

Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands

Port of Oslo, Norway

Port of Doha, Qatar

Port of Singapore, Singapore

Khalifa Port, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Port of Dover, United Kingdom (UK)

Port of Grimsby, UK

Port of London, UK

Port of Southampton, UK

Port of Odessa, Ukraine

Port of Baltimore, United States of America (US)

Port of Bellingham, US

Port Canaveral, US

Port of Charleston, US

Ports of the Columbia River, US

Port Everglades, US

Ports of the Great Lakes Ports Association, US and Canada

Port of Houston, US

Port of Long Beach, US

Port of Los Angeles, US

Manatee County Port, US

Port of New Orleans, US

Ports of New York and New Jersey, US

Port of Portland, US

Port of San Diego, US

Port of Skagit, US

Port of Seattle, US

Ports of the US Navy, US.

Information reviewed as part of the examples has primarily been sourced from each port’s website as well as published literature as a basis for analysis.

3.4.3Analysis of best practice

Analysis of the practices identified in the literature review and case studies has considered:

  • Why the standard or practice is considered to be international best practice. In order to answer this question, the analysis considered:

Has the standard or practice achieved the best environmental outcome that is practically possible?

Is there a system in place to continuously improve performance?

Has the hierarchy of avoid, mitigate, offset been applied when selecting the standard or practice?

Is the standard or practice appropriate for the situation?

  • Potential issues and constraints (technical, financial, ecological and physical) in implementing the standard or approach in Australia or in particular types of ports

  • Potential social and economic costs and benefits associated with implementing the best practice measure (including the identification of any alternative measures that may result in a similar environmental outcome at a lower cost). This was done qualitatively due to the range of factors that could influence the actual costs and benefits of the practices examined in this report.


A number of key stakeholders were consulted in preparation of this report, including relevant Australian Government and state government departments, industry representatives including Ports Australia and several port authorities, as well as marine scientific experts. Consultation included a stakeholder workshop to discuss the report in detail, identify any additional examples of international best practice that should be included, benchmark current Australian management approaches against the international examples, and discuss the applicability of findings in the report to an Australian context.

Outcomes from the stakeholder consultation activities have been incorporated into this report, and are outlined in more detail in Appendix A.

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