• Port design plays an essential role in integrating the circular economy.
  • The aim should be to generate as little waste as possible, but once generated, the focus should be on good recovery.
  • Regular port calls must be optimised, both operationally and environmentally.

In the Logistop Webinar “Circularity Strategies in the port-logistics ecosystem
logistical-port ecosystem”, we bring the attendees closer to the existing possibilities when incorporating the circular economy in the port system through the development of good practices based on evidence.

Jorge Lara, innovation and development team of the Port Cluster of the ValenciaPort Foundation, Sergio Sanz Bedate, researcher at CARTIF, Federico Barreras, Assistant General Manager of Sea & Ports, Ibai Uria, head of safety and environment at BilbaoPort, and with the presentation and moderation of Tomás de la Vega, managing director of Logistop, and Pilar Elejoste, leader of the circular economy working group of Logistop and technical director of DeustoTech (Deusto).

Estrategias de circularidad a implementar en el ecosistema logístico-portuario

First of all, Tomás de la Vega presented the new lines of work that we will develop in the course of this year at Logistop in the port logistics and circular economy working groups, as well as the calendar foreseen for the first half of the year (soon available at this link) and provided some interesting data that are being produced in these areas of action.

Pilar Elejoste then highlighted the role of the port as a fundamental link in the logistics chains, both globally and nationally, and as a national economic engine. Despite this, the port faces a series of challenges such as improving efficiency and operation with regard to the environment, improving its performance and increasing and improving its internal connections, amongst others. These challenges are summarised in 10 initiatives promoted by Puertos del Estado and which are already being applied at national level, generating circular business models.

“The port, a fundamental link in logistics chains, faces a series of global challenges that must be focused on creating new local opportunities”

Pilar Elejoste, leader of Logistop’s circular economy working group and technical director of DeustoTech (Deusto)

Jorge Lara, in the first part of his speech, analysed the circular economy applied to port clusters, as well as the value opportunities that this provides. To this end, he highlighted the importance of port design when integrating the circular economy, taking into account the existing industry of the port cluster and all port activity, given that circularity strategies will have an impact on all the flows that occur in the port environment. There are three main areas of intervention: circular port, assets and equipment; circular flows in ports; and ports as part of circular markets.

In a second part of his intervention, Jorge presented to the audience a series of good practices that have been carried out in different European ports, as well as some ideas of potential actions that can be incorporated in port clusters based on the aforementioned areas of intervention.   

“Generating sustainability working groups that include all the companies in the cluster so that the objectives do not become blurred, as well as the compilation of good practices that provide us with ideas for their subsequent application, are some of the keys to take into account to promote CE in the ports”

Jorge Lara, innovation and development team of the Port Cluster of the ValenciaPort Foundation

Sergio Sanz then presented NEMO, a project that aims to create a turnkey solution through which new systems to empirically measure emissions and noise emitted by individual vehicles will be integrated into existing infrastructures in cities, ports and railways. Under the premise that you cannot reduce what you cannot measure, NEMO seeks to develop a system that will first identify which vehicles are exceeding certain limits and, once the most problematic vehicles have been detected, analyse what measures can be taken to mitigate their impact.

In this sense, Sergio explained the four technological challenges they are facing in this project that began in May 2020 and runs until April 2023: 1) emission detection sensors – E-RSD; 2) noise detection sensors – N-RSD; 3) integration and communications; and 4) mitigation solutions.

“In the NEMO project we work under the premise that what cannot be measured cannot be reduced through the development of a system that allows, firstly, to measure which vehicle is exceeding certain limits and, once the most conflictive vehicles have been detected, to identify and analyse what measures can be adopted”

Sergio Sanz Bedate, researcher at CARTIF

Federico Barreras gave the perspective from a ship operator’s point of view, focusing on the optimisation of port operations for regular container shipping lines. Currently, there are a number of problems in the framework of regular calls, which need to be optimised, both operationally and environmentally. In this sense, and in order to analyse the existing shortcomings, Federico highlighted the “Just in Time” guide, which provides a broad vision of the barriers and solutions that can be implemented to achieve the common goal of reducing the carbon footprint of all the actors involved in a regular port call.

“Currently, there are a number of issues in the framework of regular port calls, which need to be optimised, both operationally and environmentally. The JIT guide sets out simple and easy-to-implement mechanisms that can be used by any operator of vessels calling regularly at European ports”

Federico Barreras, Assistant General Manager at Sea & Ports

Finally, Ibai Uria analysed and explained a series of actions and initiatives linked to the circular economy that are being implemented and developed in the Port of Bilbao. One of these actions is the selective removal and recovery of waste which, despite being one of the most common and habitual, is no less important, since, as Ibai mentions, the aim is to generate as little waste as possible, but, once generated, we must focus on seeking good recovery. Finally, Ibai highlighted another of the actions carried out, one of the most important initiatives related to the circular economy, which is the use of non-natural aggregates in works carried out by the Port Authority of Bilbao.

“The aim is to generate as little waste as possible, but once it has been generated, we must focus on finding a good recovery”

Ibai Uria, Head of Safety and Environment at BilbaoPort

As a final point of the session, a form (link) was shared with the attendees to collect opinions and interests, as a starting point to plan next steps in the framework of circular economy initiatives in the port sector.

About Logistop

Logistop is the benchmark workspace for collective innovation through the realisation of projects hand in hand with our members. Transforming the entire supply chain into a more efficient and sustainable one. All this with the aim of articulating and carrying out innovation projects among the members, without excluding the possibility of collaborating with or receiving support from certain organisations outside Logistop.  

In the Port Logistics Working Group we address in this working group are the following: seeking efficiency in port-logistics operations, decarbonisation and security, and all areas linked to these main themes. More information on this link.

In the Circular Economy Working Group we analyse the different actors involved in achieving a more circular industry in the different sectors and how to transform them to achieve the objectives set at national and European level through collaborative projects between the different agents involved in each of the chains. More information on this link.