Benchmark for seaport sustainability. Edition 2023

The benchmark assesses seaports in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, England, the United States and Canada based on sustainability criteria. To provide insight into the development of seaports, public sources were used to examine climate, renewable energy, air quality, water quality, ship waste, environmental management and sustainable strategy visions.

While the inherent differences between the ports (such as size, industrialisation, and location) do not allow an absolute comparison, the indicators do provide a good picture of the individual development of various seaports, allowing successful projects to be replicated by other seaports.

The results of the benchmark show that, with the exception of during the COVID period and the period of high energy prices, no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is evident. The improvement of air quality in ports and the use of renewable energy have increased, but industry and transport are still too dependent on fossil fuels and the increased economic growth dampens the positive effect. Particularly in seaports with major industries, there are initiatives for alternative or sustainable energy generation, with or without CCS coupling, but greenhouse gas emissions remain as high as ever due to economic growth. Water quality is still unsatisfactory across the board. Regulations and investments  have had a positive effect, however, such as Onshore Power Supply (shore power) and Modal Split (the mode of transport to and from the hinterland).

The Sustainable Seaports Benchmark can be used by all parties to gain insight into the sustainability approach of the seaports involved and their progress, whereby lessons can be learned from each other’s experiences.