Forth Ports has been named Edinburgh’s greenest company in awards that recognise the Capital’s best businesses.
Lighting innovations at Leith docks, pre-heated fuel for diesel engines and a drive to cut road miles helped the port operator clinch the prize at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.
Stuart Wallace, divisional director at Forth Ports, said shipping had always been recognised as the most environmentally-friendly way of transporting large volumes of goods or materials.
He said: “Using our ports, cargoes can go in bulk, by container or on the roll-on,-roll-off ferry from Rosyth, and it will be ten times more environmentally friendly than sticking them in a truck and driving down through the UK and over the channel.
“We work with customers to develop these supply chain routes that use the port as much as possible,”
He said Forth Ports was trialling LED strip lights at the lock entrance to Leith docks in place of traditional electric lighting.
And he explained how even large industrial machinery could be made greener. “We have a lot of heavy plant and equipment and big diesel engines, but we use technology which pre-heats the diesel before it goes into the engine, which increases the efficiency of the engine and reduces consumption by 10 per cent.”
Forth Ports is one of the UK’s largest port operators. As well as Leith, Rosyth, Grangemouth, Methil and Burntisland, it also runs Dundee and Tilbury in Essex, which has been recognised as Britain’s greenest port because it is the closest deep-water port to London.
Mr Wallace said Forth encouraged companies to base their activities in or near the docks to cut transportation distanced.
“Where national or regional distribution systems have grown up, you can have cargoes arriving at a port, then going to the distribution centre and being brought back to the port area.”
He said by developing warehousing within the port it was possible to cut down on unnecessary journeys.
“North British Distillers have maize coming in by sea to Leith and it’s a very short road journey to the distillery.”
Pipecoater Bredero Shaw had a base at Leith which received the raw material and carried out the coating process before dispatching it, he added.
The chamber of commerce said Forth Ports had shown success in key areas including pollution control, emissions and energy efficiency.
Forth Ports came under attack from environmentalists over its proposals for a biomass plant at Leith, which would have burned 1.3 million tonnes of woodchip a year. Last year, the plans were dropped.