As a leader in the shipping industry, we are committed to making sustainability a priority. This includes protecting the environment and wildlife in the communities in which we operate, investing in more efficient equipment, promoting local economic growth, and of course, providing a safe workplace for all of our employees, stakeholders, and customers. All three of Global Container Terminals’ shareholders are signatories to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI). IFM Investors, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), and BCI are responsible and engaged shareholders with a principled approach to managing risk and opportunities. On behalf of our owners, GCT is an effective steward as a sustainable, clean, and green investment.
In 2014, GCT joined Green Marine, an environmental certification program for the North American Marine Industry. As a leading member, we are the only participant to individually certify all our facilities in this transparent and inclusive program. Our Global Commitment ensures we challenge ourselves to continuously improve our environmental performance at every terminal, going beyond levels set by regulators. As we continue to lead our industry to operate more sustainably, in 2018 GCT Canada also became a Climate Smart certified business. As the largest tenant in the Port of Vancouver, as outlined in our case study, we produced zero emissions while our volumes increased by 6%, indicating its possible to decouple business growth from emissions growth.
But we can’t do this alone. Our collaboration with customers, port authorities, industry, indigenous groups, community associations, vendors, and suppliers is what sets us apart from our peers and competitors. We don’t just implement new procedures within our own facilities, we challenge our partners and customers to similarly improve their practices.
In 2017, GCT Canada was honoured with the prestigious Clean50 Top 15 Projects award for our leadership in reducing emissions from third party trucks calling GCT Deltaport and GCT Vanterm. As the first terminal operator to pioneer truck reservation systems in North America in 2004, our innovative program not only smooths peak hour traffic, but it also removes 11,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually – or the equivalent of over 2,400 cars off the road – all through reducing idling and dwell times from the implementation of full truck reservation systems.
In 2017, GCT Bayonne became the first terminal to introduce a comprehensive truck appointment system on the East Coast. Working in tandem with the most advanced terminal in the New York harbour, beyond improving efficiency, the new truck process improved drayage truck turn times by more than 40%, removing more than 21,000 tonnes of CO2 annually, or the equivalent of removing 4,500 cars off the road. Read more about the US Environmental Protection Agency case study on GCT Bayonne.
As our terminals continue to expand and increase capacity, sustainability and environmentally responsible practices will remain a core focus, both locally and globally. We are committed to supporting and protecting the communities in which we operate and already have many successful initiatives in place that are making a difference.
As leaders in the industry, we are working with our partners and stakeholders to find solutions that improve overall efficiency and operational safety. One of our key areas of focus is reducing truck idling and dwell times through the introduction of reservation systems, automated gate transactions, and night gate operations. These initiatives not only alleviate congestion, but also help to reduce noise, greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollutants.
It takes a considerable about of energy to move containers and as such, electrical consumption at our terminals can be high. In order to offset the effect this might have on the environment, we have invested in technology that allows us to capture and reuse some of the energy used in daily operations. This enables us to reduce fuel usage while also reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and pollutants—even while our overall volumes are increasing.
Since so much of our business takes place close to delicate coastal habitats, we try to densify our operations within our existing spaces as opposed to using additional land. A key part in all of our terminal development projects is the restoration of surrounding water and land ecosystems.
During the recent GCT Bayonne expansion, we created new tidal wetlands, preserved 6.5 hectares (16 acres) of adjacent land along the Hackensack River, and planted native vegetation in order to help local marsh species thrive, manage storm water, and enhance the local landscape.
Everything we do at GCT revolves around safety and ensuring that anyone interacting with our facility is kept out of harm’s way. This approach has driven many of our innovations including the recent expansion projects at GCT Deltaport and GCT Bayonne that introduced semi-automated machinery, a redesigned complex, and remote operations centres. It is our belief that safety is everyone’s responsibility and we count on our employees, workforce, stakeholders, and customers to help us uphold our high standards.
When it comes to safety, we believe in doing more than just the regulatory minimum. In fact, GCT Canada is leading industry safety standards in Port of Vancouver with the support of the BCMEA and the ILWU.
We will provide a safe, secure, and healthy environment.
We will train our employees to work safely and provide them with the equipment and information necessary to do so.
We will ensure that all work is performed safely, no matter how important or urgent.
We will ensure a continued and open dialogue with all business partners.
We will focus on the continuous improvement of our operations.
We will comply with all regulations and industry standards.
We will cooperate with all regulatory agencies.
We will prevent and investigate the occurrence of unsafe or illegal acts.
We will prepare and react promptly to an emergency situation.
We believe it is our responsibility—not only as a business but also as good citizens—to ensure the future of generations to come. And while we are a global company, we are committed to strengthening the local communities in which we operate and enriching the lives of those who live there—many of whom are employees of GCT. Our many initiatives include buying and hiring locally, participating in charitable events, and protecting the surrounding environment and wildlife.
Our approach goes beyond just meeting the minimum legal regulations. We are continually pushing ourselves to proactively find ways to do things better like reducing fuel consumption and emissions, using resources wisely, and reducing our environmental footprint—all while maintaining our economic competitiveness.