This is particularly true of the port industry that has often faced governmental mandates for achieving regulatory compliance, including safety, security or environmental requirements. Meeting these requirements has been typically perceived as added costs that hamper a port’s efforts to compete in the sea trade marketplace as they drive up the costs of set-vices. The requirements are not going away, nor should they; so is there an opportunity to reverse this perception from being viewed as a ability to being viewed as an opportunity?
Some have suggested that a ports environmental compliance, or even more aggressive environmental practices, could be transformed into a business attribute that would produce an enhancement of a port’s competitive position. How could this occur? What might be the role Of environmental performance in port competitiveness? DO port authorities in practice already endorse this concept? To what extent is environmental performance, or might it be, a supportive competitive factor for Halifax and other Atlantic Canada ports in their attempt to (re-)emerge as ajar players for ocean borne trade between China, India, Russia and Europe and North America?
Business Attitudes Certainly ports must comply with their applicable environmental laws and regulations in order to avoid enforcement actions by the responsible government agencies. Societal pressures act towards that direction as well motivating ‘greening’ initiatives further. In recent times, ‘green’ and ‘sustainability issues have become increasingly part of port agendas. There are three potential reasons that a business may invest in improving its environmental performance: 1) social license to operate, 2) reporter conscience, and/or 3) competitive advantage.
Often there is a need for a port to get government approval for their physical expansion or even operational expansion when it operates in an urban setting, or areas where they adjacent to environmentally sensitive areas. This permission is sometimes seen as a ‘societal license to expand or operate’ given by their neighbors once quality of life concerns have been addressed. The most important of these can be water or air pollution problems or congestion. These are local issues that must be dealt with at the local level by the port, the appropriate governmental agency, and the public.