Bayport Container Terminal certified on initial application

The Port of Houston Authority’s (PHA’s) historic Environmental Management System (EMS) has been recertified to meet the rigorous standards of the universally recognized International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001. The independent auditing firm Det Norske Veritas confirmed the recertification, as well as the ISO 14001 certification of the port authority’s state-of-the-art Bayport Container terminal, as an extension of that recertification.

PHA’s Central Maintenance facility at Turning Basin Terminal and its Barbours Cut Container Terminal became the first seaport facilities in the United States to earn ISO 14001 certification in 2002. Consequently, they became the first to be ISO recertified in 2005 and the first to earn a second recertification this year.

Bayport, a $1.4 billion facility scheduled to be built out in phases as market demands dictate, was designed to be ISO compliant on its opening day, with some of the most innovative environmental safeguards available—such as a “first-flush” storm water collection system and clean fuel/low emissions technology—as part of its infrastructure.

“We are extremely pleased with this latest validation of the Port of Houston Authority’s commitment to responsible environmental stewardship,” says PHA Chairman James T. Edmonds. “The ISO standard is a tangible, measurable means of gauging our progress in this area and each recertification is a concrete indication that we have not only met previous goals, but are committed to raising the bar and achieving more.”

Wade M. Battles, PHA Acting Executive Director, calls this latest environmental achievement “a testament to the collective efforts of the entire PHA team.”

“This could not be possible without buy-in and participation from all segments of the port authority family,” says Battles, one of the architects of the original EMS program.

“I was extremely pleased to see Bayport pass,” says Charlie Jenkins, PHA’s Director of Planning and Environment. “Bayport’s environmental initiatives were implemented with the community in mind.”

Det Norske Veritas identified several ‘noteworthy’ comments during the most recent audits. They include:

  • Top management’s commitment to EMS implementation was found well focused and very positive, based on the interview with top management representatives.
  • EMS awareness was found high and consistent at all facilities and levels. Interviewed personnel were well aware of the impact of their duties, operational control and communication channels.
  • Housekeeping was well-maintained in all facilities visited. Representatives were fully committed toward EMS implementation and innovation as well.

Det Norske Veritas auditor Chandran Ilango, who has conducted environmental audits all over the world, was especially impressed with the cleanliness and order of the Turning Basin Central Maintenance facility.

“It is an older facility with a lot of activity going on,” Ilango says. “That they are able to stay on top of everything and still keep it so well maintained is extremely impressive.”

PHA initiated development of an EMS in 1999 through the Environmental Protection Agency’s EMS pilot program. The program focuses on air and water quality improvement, waste reduction and energy efficiency. The EMS was certified as conforming to the rigorous ISO 14001 standard by Det Norske Veritas in August 2002. PHA received recertification to the revised ISO 14001 standard by Det Norske Veritas in August 2005.

PHA was scheduled for recertification in September 2008, but due to Hurricane Ike, the audit was postponed until early 2009. In early 2007, the port authority implemented the EMS at the Bayport Container Terminal, with the idea of expanding the ‘fence line’ and becoming certified to the ISO 14001 standard in conjunction with the recertification audit at the Central Maintenance Facility and the Barbours Cut Container Terminal. Again, due to the hurricane, th