“We believe it’s essential to develop an energy conscience as part of our Smart Port approach”
Interview: Joan Basora Robert, Corporate Development Manager, Port of Tarragona, Spain
The Port of Tarragona is Spain’s fourth largest and handles a diverse range of goods traffic. It also houses a major petrochemical complex. Besides the industrial-port dimension, this Catalan port is also following a policy aimed at developing the cruise business and harbours genuine ambitions of integrating the city with the port.
AIVP : In 2010, you published your report on sustainable development at the Port of Tarragona. In it, you expressed a strong desire to make the port an engine for social and economic development for the territory as a whole. Can you explain for us briefly the reasons for such a commitment?
Joan Basora Robert : We develop sustainability and economic efficiency by investing our resources and efforts in leading the economy in our territory; in this way we help to project it within the national and international environment. This helps to bring products from our area of influence or hinterland to international markets.
The Port of Tarragona has set itself a series of strategic lines, such as investing in traffic diversification and expanding infrastructure in order to position itself as a hub port for container traffic in the western Mediterranean. That is why we extended the Andalucía Quay, where the port’s container terminal is located. The extension of the Chemicals quay to allow the biggest chemicals ships currently operating to berth there, and the construction of a logistics zone (ZAL), are consistent with this strategy.
AIVP : The Port of Tarragona is already home to significant industrial activity. In addition, its President and the Association of Chemical Companies recently announced plans to create a specialist chemical industry cluster (ChemMed). So how it is possible to develop as a “responsible port”, capable of protecting and respecting its environment?
Joan Basora Robert : ChemMed Tarragona has a strategic plan which involves seeking investors from other industrial sectors, not just the chemicals industry. This will mean getting companies involved in the automobile, energy or pharmaceuticals industries to invest in the territory, although these activities will still be related with the chemicals industry.
All this requires us to be energy-conscious and to work to achieve better energy efficiency. As a responsible port we have already introduced an energy management system based on the international ISO 50001 standard, which we have integrated with our existing environmental management certification under ISO 14001. The object of all this is to protect and respect the environment more every day. Our figures show that over the last five years we have reduced electricity consumption by 16%, water consumption by 32% and fuel consumption by 3%.
AIVP : Through its Port Center Network, AIVP underlines the importance of educational measures and bringing citizens closer to their port and its activities. In Tarragona, you have the Port Museum. Could you tell us about the museum’s roles and projects, and what part the Port plays in them?
Joan Basora Robert : The Port of Tarragona Museum forms a part of what we call the Centre of Maritime Studies and Activities of the Port of Tarragona (CEMAPT), which is responsible for the Port’s cultural and social management. It organises and executes an attractive and varied programme of activities, as well as supporting and promoting new projects. It cooperates in this work with various social and cultural bodies in Tarragona, achieving a first magnitude offer which attracts some 90,000 visitors per year.
I would like to stress the energy with which the Port of Tarragona Museum carries out its activities for schoolchildren, families and other groups; these cultural activities, which include guided visits and educational sketches in both the Museum itself and the lighthouse museum, are examples of our will to preserve and publicise the history of the Port of Tarragona.
AIVP : Are there other projects or initiatives locally which aim to bring together the educational sector and/or community associations?
Joan Basora Robert : Yes, of course. There are initiatives and projects and they cooperate with us. The Tarragona library, the university, local government, neighbourhood associations… We all share these cultural and educational concerns and proposals for more and better social and cultural integration. We are in fact working towards becoming a smart port and a smart city, and this will always benefit the local population.
AIVP : For ports, societal integration is reflected in a wide range of actions and commitments, but it also requires support from the local and regional authorities. What joint measures can be taken when it comes to city-port-community integration?
Joan Basora Robert : Both national and municipal authorities support our proposals and initiatives; in fact they have representatives on the Board of Directors of the Tarragona Port Authority. Then there is the Moll de Costa of the Port of Tarragona where there are sheds and roofed areas – old port warehouses that have been converted into rooms for socio-cultural activities. The port and the municipality are jointly responsible for one of the rooms, which is used for exhibitions of contemporary art.