Asean plots moves to enhance sustainable port development

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SOUTHEAST Asian countries are pushing for the institutionalization and strengthening of their collaboration in advancing sustainable port development in the region.

To do this, the Philippines will host the first-ever meeting of the Training Network for Sustainable Port Development (SPD) in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Tuesday.

The meeting, which will be held in Manila, will be attended by the different decision-makers from the member-economies of Asean.

The Training Network is an offshoot of the partnership forged by the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) with Asean and the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (Pemsea) in 2009 to implement the SPD.

“The one-day meeting shall serve as the official start of the Regional Training Network, handing over to it the sustainability of the GIZ SPD project, thus, a presentation of the memorandum of understanding duly signed by member-economies will highlight the event,” Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Officer in Charge Raul T. Santos said on Saturday.

Aside from GIZ, the PPA and the Pemsea, other participating institutions include Northport (Malaysia) Bhd., Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd., Phnom Penh Autonomous Port, Myanmar Port Authority, Port Authority of Thailand and Vietnam Maritime College One.

The SPD project, on the other hand, started in 2009 and ran for six years, engaged 12 ports among seven Asean countries, with the primary objective of improving the quality and efficiency of safety, health and environment (SHE) management of these selected ports.

The conclusion of the project last year paved the way for the creation of the Regional Training Network through the commitment of seven Asean member-economies to continue its implementation in the region.

The Training Network for SPD in the Asean region is comprised of two Regional Training Centers and initial five National Training Centers. The PPA, through its PPA Training Institute, is one of the Regional Training Centers and also serves as the secretariat to the network.

In 2013 the PPA has separately partnered with the GIZ for the conduct of a training scheme aimed for the same purpose.

The scheme is a trainers’ training program that will strengthen the trainers’ teaching skills and their ability to effectively transmit knowledge.

The course focused on three major aspects of port development, such as the handling of dangerous goods (DGs) in port areas; integration of SHE in ports; as well as safety-management systems  in ports.

The program also offered advanced course in the handling of DGs in ports; SHE issues for port workers; and occupational safety and health in ports.

The PPA, for the past couple of years, has been involving itself in several partnerships with local and international training firms to build the capacity of its employees to deal with the evolving port environment.

Aside from GIZ, the state-owned agency recently concluded its agreement with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on another set to capacity- building program.