New Technologies – Driving Environmental Improvements in the Ports and Coastal Sector – Successful PIANC Seminar May 2019
PIANC Australia & New Zealand convened a very successful seminar on “New Technologies – driving environmental improvements in the ports and coastal sector.”
Twelve expert presenters covered a wide variety of topics – sharing technical knowledge, experience, and the challenges and advantages of embracing the new powers, to an appreciative audience of industry colleagues.
NSW Ports generously sponsored the event, and their CEO Marika Calfas opened the seminar with pertinent examples of new technologies in the international and domestic port space – including automation, drone technology, remotely controlled tugs and – crucially – data sharing, showing how “’technological change can lead to operational efficiencies and environmental improvements. There can be a very positive relationship” she said,” between technologies, the environment, efficiencies and hence costs.”
Speakers from around Australia and New Zealand continued on the theme – beginning with the first presenter Jackie Spiteri, Environmental Adviser at the Port of Newcastle, who shared Newcastle’s widely lauded experience in becoming the first port in Australia or New Zealand to commit to meeting global environmental and sustainability standards as set by the International EcoPorts network .
Other speakers included Port of Melbourne’s Planning & Asset Development Manager Matt Primmer who explained how Melbourne is reducing its environmental footprint through use of the NCOS Online system. Jared Pettersson from Christchurch’s Lyttleton Port Company and Giles Lesser, senior coastal engineer OMC International, co-presented on the application of technology to reduce the environmental impact of the Lyttleton Channel deepening project.
Peter Engelen, NSW Ports’ General Manager Planning & Infrastructure gave an update on the automation journey at Port Botany while Peter Duplex – Mid West Ports Authority -shared his experience with trials undertaken with new technology at Geraldton.
At the end of the seminar, PIANC A-NZ Chair, Associate Professor Will Glamore reminded the attendees that innovations driving – indeed enforcing – widespread industry changes are not a new phenomenon. Back in the days of PIANC’s origins – the 1880s – the engineering innovation of the new Suez Canal, which permitted only steamships through its narrow channel, resulted in a whole system change.
Yet innovations in themselves, he said, cannot always effect change, and many apparently exciting gadgets and gizmos turn out to have very brief shelf lives. There must be social adaptation at the same time. That is, the new technology must align with the values of our communities, the needs of our stakeholders. And their values and needs are not just about industry cost savings.