Major ports in India are endeavouring towards implementing the Environmental Management System so as to streamline their policies to enhance its overall development. Today, a majority of private players enable seamless movement of cargo from ports to and from CFSs to various first and last mile destinations within the country. Yet, the concept of "green ports" eludes Indian ports by a long mile, says Rahul Kamat.
A s India becomes a global trade hub, it is imperative that it adopt sustainable processes to run its gateways-including ways to integrate and balance the economic and environmental aspects of its growth. As developed and developing countries' ports move towards an environment-friendly approach towards building, development and operations of ports, India cannot afford to be a pariah, nor can its practices continue to guzzle fuels and spew. Policies are needed, therefore, to effect this trend. Yet, hearteningly, some ports and their vendors-logistics, equipment and machinery companies-are making some efforts to green the maritime supply chain. "How are we going to address this concern?" asks Michael Pinto, former Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, adding, "India should opt for a green port concept, where right from construction to operation, every aspect will be just green."
A green port is not only about the environmental aspects of operations but it is also a mindset for creating efficiency, increasing productivity and most importantly (especially for India), reduction of wastage including oil, power, and water, says MA Bhaskarchar, CMD, Ennore Port Trust, which was having different cargoes operated by various operators has a challenge to address the cumulative effects of all the operations on the environment and present as a single package- the Green Port.
"But we also need to understand and be aware that just the environment-friendly infrastructure of ports on its own cannot sustain or bring about the necessary change in mindset within our economy," counters a skeptical Adarsh Hegde, Executive Director, Allcargo Logistics-which has made efforts to make its logistics fuel-efficient.
"If the industry is skeptical about the overall concept, the government should make it mandatory, not only the use of equipment in operational stages should adhere to green norms but while constructing a port, the materials also should be certified green material," feels Suresh Amirapu, Managing Director, Portman Pvt Ltd, which is a Chennai-based project and port management company.
To make this concept (green port) more lucrative for private and public port operators, a section of experts believes that the government should come out with incentive-based programmes for saving water, power, oil spillage and dust proof operation while handling coal and using ultra modern port equipment.
SV Madabhavi, Chief Engineer, Chennai Port Trust, illustrates how a port can become 'green': "By providing efficient methods for handling bulk cargo while providing a foolproof system for handling liquid cargo." The noise levels in the operational area, he adds, can be prevented and contained by efficient operation and maintenance (O&M) procedures such as sprinkling water while handling or transporting coal from one place to other; or using fuel efficient equipment such as BSIV equipped engines and solar-based rubber-tyred gantry cranes in port operations.
Major ports in India are implementing technologically advanced handling systems through private participation. Meanwhile, investment through the private sector has brought in several expansion schemes into operation and the maritime sector is inching forward towards the implementation of green port concept. Major ports like Chennai and Ennore, and container terminals like Nhava Sheva, located at JNPT, are taking steps to make them "green". Ennore Port has already appointed a consultant for a study on this, while Chennai Port, with directives from the Prime Minister's Office, is implementing green initiatives.
Logistics is one of the necessary elements while making complete port operation process "green", and the private sector believes it is contributing its mite in the efforts to making the supply chain an efficient one. It has to be supported by the logistics industry which will play a vital role in making this concept a reality in our country. Experts say there has been a marked increase in efficiency among Indian port operations as critical infrastructure such as Container Freight Stations (CFS) are being supported by efficient private enterprises. These private facilities act as an extension of ports. Compared with roads as the most preferred mode of transportation within hinterlands of India, private players have also innovated the trade environment to identify newer and more efficient modes of transportation such as rail and coastal shipping.
Movement of oversize and over-dimensional cargo such as heavy machines, power plant components, parts of refineries etc are often through efficient means of transport around the world, and India has a long way to go in adopting such practices.
At present, there are no as such certification process in India for green port except Environmental Management System (EMS) ISO 14001. So if an existing port needs to implement the concept of Green Port, it needs to adhere to EMS.
In fact, the major ports in India are endeavouring towards implementing the IS 14001 so as to streamline their policies to enhance the overall development. Till date, there are many ports who have been awarded ISO 14001 for EMS compliance. Therefore, these initiatives have already been set in motion and all other major ports may follow them in order to adopt sustainable development for future expansions.
Private ports have an advantage over government-owned ports in greening themselves. Private ports are independent of taking decisions to the stipulations as fixed by the pollution monitoring agencies.
However, they also need to adopt green port concepts as being adopted in major ports of India. The monitoring agency shall see that the private ports are also adopting the EMS policy within 3-5 years of their development.
Echoing the thought, Bhaskarchar says, "Yes, it is necessary to have a proactive approach from the port side and necessary to create separate environmental cell to monitor day-to-day functioning of the environmental issues in the port."
The biggest challenge India faces today as a competitive economy to the likes of China, Singapore, Dubai and over newer markets across APAC, is the additional transaction cost in logistics within India. That extra cost decreases our competitiveness by increasing effective logistics cost. Thus, with green ports emerging as a concept and logistics industry backing its resources and efforts to create the much needed efficiency, India will be successful in reducing the overall costs of doing business in India, thus improving our competitiveness as a trade hub globally.
Major ports with ISO 14001 EMS compliance
1. Visakhapatnam 2. Jawaharlal Nehru Port 3. Kandla 4. Chennai 5. New Mangalore 6. VO Chidambaranar Port 7. Ennore
GREENING A PORT
"The government should make it mandatory that the materials also should be certified green material, apart from the use of equipment in operational stages should adhere to green norms while constructing a port."
- Suresh Amirapu, Managing Director, Portman Pvt Ltd
"Of all the economic variables that India needs to concentrate on to accelerate its growth, leveraging an economic, cost effective and productive medium of transportation to and from India, coastal shipping will be the gamechanger."
- Adarsh Hegde, Executive Director, Allcargo Logistics
"From construction to operation, every aspect of a port should be green." - Michael Pinto, Ex-Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India
"A port can become green by providing efficient methods for handling bulk cargo while providing a fool-proof system for handling liquid cargo." - SV Madabhavi, Chief Engineer, Chennai Port Trust
THE GREEN PATH
Environment friendly infrastructure of ports on its own cannot make a port sustainable. The marked increase in efficiency of various ports in recent years has to do with how these critical infrastructures are being supported by private enterprises, such as Container Freight Stations (CFS) in and around these ports. These private facilities act as an extension of port itself, thus driving continuous flow of trade traffic as well as considerably reducing the wastage of excess fuel, which was traditionally used up waiting in never ending queues of transport trucks.
Adaptation of the concept of Green Port in India has to start with logistics industry. Most private players enable seamless movement of cargo from ports to and from CFSs to various first and last mile destinations. Private operators have also brought sea change in adaptation of fuel efficient transport vehicles thus directly reducing the carbon footprint generated by the industry. This has not only improved overall capacity and capabilities of the industry but it has also resulted in more focus on skills and training of people employed by the industry. This has led to a competitive spirit to spread this efficiency across all players, thus overall improving the industry and the environment as well as human safety aspect itself, over the last few years.
While rail has seen its fair share of challenges in terms of lack of transparent policies, coastal shipping has emerged over the years as the most economical, time saving and productive ways of moving cargo within India. Coastal shipping is presently used by many domestic as well as international companies to carry bulk as well as break bulk cargo, while heavy machines, power plant components, parts of refineries etc move through coastal shipping and roads for final connectivity. Our company, for example, provides fuel-efficient transportation services to and from port to our CFSs and other locations use fuel efficient reach stackers at our facilities, as well as world class Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGC). We foresee a greater contribution of coastal shipping as a medium in India's logistics evolution. Coastal shipping will be an economic gamechanger. Its importance is already visible with PSUs as well as international and domestic companies using it for movement of bulk and break bulk cargo. With a new government in center soon, economic growth will prevail over politics and India will see a steady but sure surge in trade and thus benefiting the logistics industry overall it the longer run. - Adarsh Hegde, Executive Director, All Cargo Logistics, which owns four CFSs