The objective of the European Community is to increase the protection of the marine environment and to reduce the number of disposals at sea of cargo residues and waste generated by ships sailing in its waters, by improving the availability and the use of port collection facilities. The European Directive 2000/59/EC published at the end of 2000, which embodies the International MARPOL 73/78 Convention, is in keeping with these objectives. The Directive, applicable since 28 December 2002, lays down 5 basic principles:
- Obligation to discharge waste for all ships in commercial service,
- Obligation to announce with 24 hours’ notice : the ship must announce to the port authority the nature and quantity of its waste 24 hours before its arrival.
- Obligation to provide suitable port facilities for the reception of cargo residues and waste generated by ships usually calling at the port.
- Obligation to supervise and control shipping : The Member States must carry out inspections of up to 25% of shipping, particular attention being given to ships that do not comply with the obligation to announce their arrival. Ships that do not comply can be detained in the port by the “Port State Control”.
- Fee system : the cost of the reception facilities is covered by a charge to be paid by every ship. All the ships calling at the port pay a significant fixed share of the fee, except in cases of exemption (regular lines / frequent port calls), whether they use the facilities or not.
The aim of the project was to reduce the volume of waste dumped in the sea and to reinforce protection of the marine environment so as to meet the objectives of the Directive 2000/59/EC. The system would generate a specific, optimised organisation of all of the port's waste management agents, resulting in a respectful, professional approach to the environment, especially as the project intends to meet the requirements of the ISO 14001 certification (policies, procedures and installations). Finally, the results would contribute to adapting existing environmental legislation with respect to the conclusions of e-COPORT. This project would be the first link in a chain of European sites (harbour waste) within the scope of a maritime environment plan such as European Spatial Developement Perspective (ESDP). The e-COPORT project would make use of new information and communication technologies through the development of software to forecast and control garbage/cargo waste flow in real time and immediately transmit this information across the waste management network - a single 'window' concept for maritime waste. The project included training modules for system users.
The Port of Le Havre Authority, working in conjunction with some fifteen local public and private partners to incite synergies between the port communities as a whole, designed the e-COPORT system: an Internet-based server facilitating relations in real time between the various actors involved in the control and management of ship-generated waste: - the ship via its shipping agent - the harbour master’s office of the Port of Le Havre Authority - waste collection and processing companies - Governmental agencies in charge of supervising shipping, collecting waste fees and applying regulations. Implementation of the project has taken place in several phases, spread out over 2 years from July 2001, and basically included the following:
- Phase 1: Identification of the type and quantities of waste from ships on port call in Le Havre that are currently processed and are likely to be processed in the future further to the application of the new European Directive, as well as the inventory of the waste collection and processing facilities available locally and in the region, listing their equipment and resources. This study, which was carried out by the University of Le Havre, made it possible to show that, because of the presence of significant industrial infrastructures located in the area surrounding the port of Le Havre and in the Seine Valley, the port had all the facilities for collecting and processing waste of any kind discharged by the ships regularly calling at the port, dedicated either to biological or chemical purification, or to incineration, or to energy recovery, or for land filling as final waste.
- Phase 2: Benchmarking was undertaken to provide a comparative analysis of the current management of ship-generated waste in the port of le Havre with that of other French and European ports of similar size and scale, and also to provide a comparative study of the process being considered in these other ports to reply to the objective of the new European Directive. The results of this investigation showed that, overall, the implementation of management systems for ship-generated waste designed to meet the new provisions of the Directive had made a little progress at the end of 2001, i.e. 1 year from the expiry date for implementation. The ports in northern Europe (Scandinavian, British, German, Dutch and Belgium) nonetheless appeared to have made greater headway in analysing, designing and installing such systems.
- In the Port of Le Havre, in order to prepare the development of the prototype of the E-COPORT data server a think tank was set up in 2002 in close collaboration with the local stakeholders in order to obtain their full support for the project and get it off to a good start. This design phase initially focused on analysing the existing procedures and the difficulties in applying them, and then on developing new procedures.
- From mid-2002 to mid 2003, the prototype of the data server resulting from the project was gradually designed and set-up, in close collaboration with the partners but also with the actors in the port community, through a large number of workshops.
- Training in the use of the system, organised by the IPER included 2 days of instruction on rudology (waste management and treatment), information about the objectives and contents of the various statutory texts behind the launch of the project and specific training in the use of the data server.
The final result is a one-stop shop, accessible via the Internet, to simplify the formalities involved in the collection of ship-generated waste. E-COPORT enables the identification, follow-up and traceability of ship-generated waste from collection to disposal, including the previous and next ports of call if and when required.
- Waste Declaration. The shipping agent uses ECOPORT forms to make the waste declaration. These forms require: - information relating to the port call and the ship (name or Lloyd’s number, flag, storage capacity, estimated time of arrival, scheduled time of departure, previous port of call, next port of destination etc.) - information about the waste to be discharged. Once the declaration has been approved by its author, it is allocated a registration number and can no longer be modified. The data is checked by a waste production simulation module. If an anomaly is detected, an electronic warning message is sent to the Harbour master’s office of the Port of Le Havre Authority.
- Discharging waste. On the waste declaration form, the representative of the ship-owner indicates if the ship wishes to discharge waste. If such is the case, after validating the waste declaration file, a form displays a list of professional waste collectors. From the list, shipping agents select the company to which they wish to entrust the waste collection. They base their choice on the type of waste, the quantity, the resources used etc. A processing request message is sent to the companies (or a request for quotes to all the companies that are to be consulted) including the items relating to the collection operation (name of ship, type of waste, volumes, estimated time of arrival, scheduled time of departure etc.). Once an agreement has been reached on the service between the waste collector and the ship owner’s representative (outside the E-Coport system), the name of the service provider is validated on the computer system by the shipping agent. An electronic message then confirms the service provider's agreement.
- Collection certificate. A collection certificate is filled in by the waste collector at the end of the operation. It includes the types of waste collected and the quantities recovered. Once these formalities have been completed, the computer system simulates the quantity of waste produced until the next port of port call and checks that they are compatible with the storage capacities on board. If an inconsistency is detected, a message is transmitted to the Harbour master’s office of the Port of Le Havre Authority.
- Follow-up of waste proceedings. After the waste has been processed, the waste collector inputs the computer system with the kinds of waste and the exact quantities received at the processing centre. In case of doubt concerning the types and volumes of waste, the Harbour master’s office of the Port of Le Havre Authority can transmit items from the declaration of a given ship to its next port of call. The computer system then issues a message to the authority concerned of the following port. Information exchange in real time between European ports in this way ensures ships are properly controlled and guarantees a certain consistency in applying a community system that requires co-operation between Member States.