Interview with Port of Kaoshiung, Taiwan, about ECOPORTS Certification (English)

23 Jan 2019

The Port of Kaohsiung received this year for the third time its EcoPorts Certificate. Its commitment to implement good environmentally sustainable practices has allowed this. In 2014, it was the first port in Asia that received the EcoPorts Certificate. This certification is awarded by the ECO Sustainable Logistics Chain Foundation (ECOSLC) in support of the European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO). The certificate seeks excellence in implementing the environmental management and sustainability system.

Mr. Shien-Chang Chang, Director of Occupation and Safety Division of Port of Kaohsiung, provides some details about the port certification process.


     1. Can you briefly present the Port of Kaohsiung?

The Port of Kaohsiung is located at the Southwest end of Taiwan. The port develops itself as a hub in the crossroads of maritime transport connections between the America’s, and Asia and Australia. The Port is one of the largest container ports in the world. Its network bridges across 5 continents with more than 300 routes. The total volume of cargo (bulk, containers and pipelines) handled through the Port of Kaohsiung reached in 2017 450 million ton. Today the port is the number 15 of the world container ports. Sustainability is a key part of its business model.

     2. When did you ECOPorts certified for the first time?

In 2014 the Port became the first EcoPorts certified port in the Asia-Pacific region. This was realised during a process that the Taiwan International Port Corporation’s initiated in 2012. The process implemented gradually the “Greening the Ports Action Plan” among ports in Taiwan. In 2011 the government adopted a new commercial port law. This led in 2012 to the decision to commercialise ports and separate their enterprise management from the government. After these changes the Port of Kaohsiung decided to introduce the global standards of the EcoPorts environmental management system for ports. EcoPorts started in Europe’s port sector.

Early 2018 KAOHSIUNG- TIPC started preparations of the certificate for the third time. Kaohsiung-TIPC received the new EcoPorts PERS Certificate version 5 in October 2018. This has a validity of two years from the date of receipt (until October 2020).

     3. Why did the Port decide to become certified?

One of the reasons to obtain this recognition was to position the port with a global environmental management standards level for ports. The port sector as a whole can demonstrate in this way its responsibility towards an effective port environmental management. It is a road towards achieving compliance with the objective that the Taiwanese ports are environmentally sustainable. In addition, EcoPorts PERS is internationally recognized for sharing best professional practices. It is specifically developed by ports, for ports. It can adapt to future changes in legislation and priorities for action.

     4. Why did the Port decide to become certified as EcoPort instead of other international                                   environmental certifications?

KaohsiungG-TIPC had several motives to obtain the PERS Certificate: EcoPorts is the main global environmental initiative that started in the European port sector. The general principle of EcoPorts is to raise awareness and understanding about the protection of the environment. This is done through cooperation, the exchange of knowledge between ports and especially by continuous improvement of environmental management.

     5. What actions did the Port of Kaohsiung undertake after certification?

After certification the port invested in its implementation to realize a number of objectives in daily practice: increasing its business competitiveness, enhancing its social image, improving its visibility and reputation, and to obtaining the experience of international ports. In this way the port combines growth with sustainability while considering port-city development. The Port also improved its infrastructure. This is a joint effort of various shipping sectors and agencies, to promote the port as the centre for Asia-Pacific transhipment and global logistics.

    6. What was the EcoPort certification process?

The port starts the procedure to obtain certification by registering and making the corresponding payment. It delivers online relevant port information and its port profile. Then the port carries out a Self-Analysis by using the Self-Diagnosis Methodology (SDM). The result is confidentially analysed by ECOSLC/EcoPorts. The review report contains a Gap Analysis, benchmark and strategic advice.

The next step is the PERS Environmental Report. The port carries this out and delivers the report for auditing. In this auditing part of the process, there are two possibilities: a 1-step audit and a 2-steps audit. For Ports with a current ISO 14001 certification Lloyd’s Register will make a review of its PERS documentation. These ports may be exempted from a second step of the environmental audit by Lloyd’s Register certifying house. Ports without a current ISO 14001 certification will receive a visit from Lloyds Register certifying house. Lloyd’s performs this second step with an audit in the port. After the evaluation of the PERS Environmental Report and, where appropriate, the results of the second step of the audit, the PERS Certification will be granted.

In renewing the certificate in 2018 the Port of Kaohsiung had to demonstrate the activities that it carried out to follow the certification rules. For example: integration of progress and improvements in its environmental programs including activities in favour of the conservation of the environment, and the creation of an internal environmental policy (specifically designed for the circumstances of Kaohsiung exclusively) to comply with the PERS Certification. As part of the process an Environmental Report, Environmental Policy related to the PERS report is made available to the public on the official website of the Port of KAOHSIUNG in English and Chinese.

The Ecoports environmental management system and its standards are especially designed for the special environmental needs of ports and their relationship with companies in the port and the city. It helps, in an easy step by step way, to make port and port companies aware of the environmental impact of their operations. At the same time, it delivers its management and employees a method to reduce these impacts and to deliver continuous improvement.  It is important that it improves at the same time both its business model and the environmental impact of the business model.

The port could easily establish direct communication with the certifying team during the whole procedure, since at all times they were available to resolve the doubts that arose. Without a doubt this helped a lot to facilitate the procedure.

     7. How was the response of port owners and other stakeholders?

During the certification process the response of the port community of port companies to support the Port Administration of KAOHSIUNG was positive. They showed great interest in knowing the approach of this certification. In the meantime, directors of all port companies emphasized that the support of the port community is crucial to maintain this and other certifications.

     8. How do you measure the port's environmental progress since they were certified as EcoPort?

Every 2 years all activities carried out after the certification are integrated in the management system. Several globally recognized indicators are used to monitor progress.

     9. Have you established a particular environmental goal to achieve?

The Port of Kaohsiung aspires to develop its logistics and transhipment, considering the compatibility of port–city development, by following the principles of sustainable development. Its business goals are: “breakthrough, innovation, variation” and “safety, efficiency, and sustainability.” As a green port, the Port is transitioning into the role of a hub port, a LOHAS port (i.e. a port that features lifestyles of health and sustainability), and an eco-port (i.e. a port that is environmentally friendly).

Port of Kaohsiung aims to maintain the environmental certifications it has. In the future it will, if possible, acquire new acknowledgments (If possible, we will continuously get other certification in the future), as well as compliance with its legal obligations in environmental matters and compliance with the integral management system. Further the Port of Kaohsiung aims to implement additional technology that helps achieve the sustainability of this company. In this way environmental management is integrated in its business management and both are improved at the same time.

     10. Have you undertaken other projects to improve the environment?

Some examples can be mentioned:

Internal dissemination and training in compliance with its environmental policies, the Kaohsiung Port provides suitable environmental education and training programs. The aim is to inform the whole staff with topics to improve their environmental awareness as well as to enhance their environmental protection knowledge and improve the competitiveness of the Port of Kaohsiung.

     11. What are some ways for the port to promote good environmental practices?

The port uses various means to promote environmental good practices. We publicize and update information about green port management, air pollution control, environmental reports, and ecological engineering practices on the official website. For instance, to promote vessel air pollution prevention measure, we text messages to ships to remind them about reducing speed in the port area. We also award ocean-going vessels for practicing speed reduction and using low sulphur fuel within port areas.

     12. Do you think that environmental certification gives you any competitive advantage?

The environmental, economic and social benefits that have been generated in the Port of Kaohsiung as a result of obtaining the certificate have been remarkable , such as:

  • The port not only releases part of the port buildings’ rooftops for solar installation, but also continuously promotes environmentally friendly practices and revitalizing old assets. For example, we work with the Kaohsiung Port Land Development Company and the local government to co-design and reshape the face of the port area in order to attract more eco-friendly investments. The Port of Kaohsiung Warehouse No. 2, No.4 and No. 5 are all remodelled old buildings that provide public leisure and cultural and creative dinning spaces. In this way the certification not only contributes to the improvement of the environment, but brings also economic benefits to the port.
  • Reduction of the negative impact of Port operations on the community that has led to support for port initiatives and to acquiring a world-class environmental reputation.
  • Improvements in environmental indicators, such as port water quality, noise emission levels and particulate matter levels suspended to the atmosphere by port-specific operating activities.
  • Strengthening the relationship between agencies and institutions with the Port Administration of Kaohsiung, for the promotion of environmental care and conservation.
  • Strengthening the relationship with assignees, service providers and contractors. For example, we carried out the “Procedural Guideline for Rewarding Ocean-going Vessels (OGVs) with Low-sulphur Fuel” and “Vessel Speed Reduction Program” to encourage them to carry out good environmental practices.

     13. Can you give examples of environmental good practices that have been developed after ECOPorts              Certification?

Several examples can be mentioned, such as:

Climate Change actions: Port of Kaohsiung Completes Comprehensive Typhoon Disaster Prevention and Response Drill in Preparation for the 2018 Typhoon Season. Responding to unstable climatic conditions in recent years and the regular and serious threat of seasonal typhoons to port infrastructures and facilities.

Air quality improvement by dust reduction: Port of Kaohsiung effectively manages dust generated from bulk cargo handling operations at Bulk and General Cargo Terminals No. 48–56 by implementing dust net, swiping and cleaning the streets, and deploying mist cannon vehicles. At Wharf No. 49, a covered warehouse is installed to control stevedoring induced suspended coal particles.

Cooperation: The Port of Kaohsiung plays an active role in collaborating with the private sector, public sector and academia in Taiwan and abroad on issues related to the environment.