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Assessing the Environmental Impact of Maritime Operations in Ports: A Systems Approach

Maritime Logistics

ISBN: 978-1-78052-340-8, eISBN: 978-1-78-052341-5

Publication date: 12 January 2012


This chapter presents a framework which is accessible to port authorities to assess the potential environmental impact of maritime operations. Pursuant on globalisation, increased numbers of ship movements have generated more frequent routine maritime operations in ports but few formal approaches exist for assessing their environmental impact, which potentially could be significant. In a novel framing of environmental assessment a business process modelling technique is deployed in a systems approach which highlights inputs, service processes and outputs. In an initial focus, primary processes at strategic level are defined which affect the environmental assessment of present and future operations and their potential impacts. Later, tactical service processes define the integrity of processes that guarantee service level and quality. Finally, outputs are defined by operational processes. The contribution of applying the systems approach to plan more sustainable maritime operations is assessed in a case study of Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC) which regulates much of Falmouth Harbour and hosts the UK's largest offshore marine bunkering operation. Following EU designation of a North Sea Sulfur Oxide Emissions Control Areas (SECA) Falmouth recently recorded a significant rise in the number of vessels calling, and volume of fuel sold as more passing vessels take onboard low-sulfur fuel. The systems approach which empowers FHC to mitigate potential risks and assess development proposals proactively is easily transferable to other ports.




Plymouth Business School teamed up with Falmouth Harbour Commissioners in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (No. KTP007098). This Partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme. KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base. KTP is funded by the Technology Strategy Board along with the other government funding organisations which included the National Environment Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council and FHC. None of these bodies was involved in decisions relating to research design, data collection, data analysis, interpretation or dissemination.


Dinwoodie, J., Tuck, S. and Knowles, H. (2012), "Assessing the Environmental Impact of Maritime Operations in Ports: A Systems Approach", Song, D.-W. and Panayides, P.M. (Ed.) Maritime Logistics, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 263-284.



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