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By Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves Port Director and CEO
The Port of Galveston has been recertified as a Green Marine port, confirming our long-term commitment to continuous improvement in environmental performance. We are one of only two Texas ports certified by the voluntary environmental program for North America’s maritime industry.
We joined Green Marine in 2019, were first certified in 2021 and have been certified annually since then. To receive recertification, participants must benchmark their annual environmental performance through Green Marine’s self-evaluation guides and show improvement each year. Our results are verified by an accredited external verifier and published by Green Marine.
Participating in Green Marine helps us identify and implement best practices, manage our environmental programs, measure our progress and strive for continuous improvement.
We could not have envisioned where our Green Marine journey would take us when we earned certification in 2021. With the commitment of our board of trustees and staff, we’re identifying opportunities for partnerships on environmental programs unimagined just a few years ago.
Clean Energy on the Waterfront
Shore power, LNG-powered ships, solar power and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are port initiatives to reduce air emissions.
Representatives from the Galveston Wharves, Carnival Corporation, CenterPoint Energy, Royal Caribbean Group, Shell and Texas A&M University at Galveston are exploring the potential of connecting docked ships to shore-side electricity rather than using onboard diesel auxiliary engines to generate electricity. Shore power is an opportunity to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases associated with maritime activities.
Our first EV charging stations will be available for port cruise parking customers soon. The Port of Galveston was awarded two Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program (TXVEMP) grants totaling $35,000 toward the purchase of 28 universal EV charging stations to be installed in port parking areas. The port is investing $40,000 in the project.
We’re also proud to be a leader in homeporting the newly built Carnival Jubilee, which is equipped to use LNG fuel. This clean-burning fuel significantly reduces emissions and is a huge step toward a greener future for the shipping industry.
Speaking of environmental leadership, Royal Caribbean’s new cruise terminal at Pier 10 is the first cruise terminal to generate 100 percent of its energy from on-site solar panels. This makes the facility the first LEED Zero Energy cruise terminal in the world. We applaud Royal Caribbean’s outstanding environmental commitment.
Stronger with Partners
We’re also partnering with community and business stakeholders on smaller projects to promote shared environmental goals.
The Galveston Wharves has worked to enhance its community outreach and build awareness as part of the Green Marine program. The port staff regularly meets with neighborhood and civic groups and participates in volunteer events, such as Maritime Day, Share Your Christmas and beach cleanups.
We landscaped areas of the Royal Caribbean cruise terminal with native plantings with a $5,000 grant from Clean Galveston.
All these programs strengthen our relationships with our business partners and the community, while making positive, long-term environmental impacts.
Business partners Metro Ports, Ports of America and Ceres Terminals Inc. have joined the port in becoming Green Marine participants. Metro and Ceres are certified for Galveston, and Ports of America is striving for Galveston certification in 2024. As we grow our circle of port partners, sharing ideas and efforts along the way, we collectively have a bigger impact.
The Galveston Wharves and its partners are making great progress in realizing long-term changes to protect the environment with the Green Marine program as a guide.