Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Port Group Vows to Fight Plastic Waste Polluting the Oceans

Cargo Handler Joins Logistics Firm in Operation Clean Sweep
Shipping News Feature
UK – Teesport has become the first port facility to actively address the problem of plastics polluting the country's waterways, with operator PD Ports signing up to the Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS) initiative. The project, which has already seen freight group XPO Logistics come on board, is run in the UK by the British Plastics Federation (BPF), and aims to ensure that the plastic pellets, flakes and powders that pass through manufacturing facilities in the UK are handled with the care they deserve and do not end up in rivers or the ocean.

Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, announced the agreement, while presenting the OCS certificate to PD Ports at a BPF reception at the House of Commons on Monday 10th September. Clarke commented:

“[This] news is a major step forward in the fight against plastic pollution, and will delight the hundreds of my constituents who take part in regular beach cleans at Saltburn and along our local rivers and streams. The British Plastics Federation is doing wonderful work tackling this scourge, and PD Ports deserve great credit for engaging swiftly and decisively as the first UK port to sign up to Operation Clean Sweep.

“Plastics have a crucial role in our economy but it is vital they are produced and transported in a responsible fashion. I hope other UK ports will now follow Teesport’s lead – both our own and future generations will have reason to thank them if they do.”

Operation Clean Sweep is already implemented across the UK in over 250 sites, which up until now have largely been plastics manufacturing plants. However, the inclusion of the port represents an important shift, incorporating other companies which handle these materials along the supply chain – ensuring plastics are handled responsibly during transportation.

Headquartered in Middlesbrough, PD Ports has several operations across the UK at key ports including Teesport. One of the major shipping and logistics hubs in the North of the UK, Teesport handles over 500,000 teu a year. PD Ports Chief Operating Officer and Vice-Chairman, Jerry Hopkinson said:

“As a port, we already have a number of initiatives in place to work with river users to reduce plastic making its way into our environment and our work with the British Plastics Federation reinforces our commitment. Plastics are clearly important for a number of purposes, but it’s important that we all take responsibility for how they are managed and disposed of, so as to not be detrimental to the planet.”

By signing up to Operation Clean Sweep, companies make a commitment to adhere to best practice and implement systems to prevent plastic pellet loss — and that they will play their part in protecting the aquatic environment. Philip Law, Director General of the BPF states:

“The British Plastics Federation is proud that PD Ports is the first UK port to sign up to Operation Clean Sweep. We highly value Simon Clarke MP’s involvement in helping to achieve this important landmark. Many manufacturers and logistics operators are putting their weight behind Operation Clean Sweep and we urge other organisations that handle plastic raw materials to follow the fine example set by PD Ports.”