Grupo Portuario S.A.
Grupo Portuario S.A. is a company established in 1996 that manages and operates Wharf 13 of the Buenaventura maritime terminal. The Port of Buenaventura is one of the largest ports of South America’s Pacific coast and the largest in Colombia in terms of cargo, handling approximately 40% of the country’s total cargo volume. Wharf 13 is a multipurpose wharf that handles a variety of activities, including general cargo, solid bulk cargo, and coal. This wharf was assigned to Grupo Portuario by the Revolving Fund of the Colombian Navy (currently the logistics agency of the Armed Forces) through a leasing agreement. Grupo Portuario handles 18.2% of the Port of Buenaventura’s total cargo, excluding container cargo and liquid bulk cargo, which Grupo Portuario does not handle.
The objective of this IIC operation is to finance the purchase of equipment associated with the company’s cargo handling operations in order to increase their efficiency.
Environmental and Labor Issues:
Environmental classification: This is a category B project according to the IIC’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy because it could produce certain effects that may be avoided or mitigated by following generally recognized performance standards, guidelines, or design criteria. The main environmental and labor considerations related to the Project are: efficient resource use and pollution prevention, workplace and labor conditions, and community health and safety. The company has an environmental advisor responsible for compliance with environment obligations; proposing and evaluating corrective measures and improving the terminal’s environmental aspects; coordinating training activities; emergency response preparedness; and monitoring and reporting on environmental parameters.
Several rivers and minor waterways that descend from the western mountain range, an area marked by high rainfall (approximately 6,000 mm per year), empty into Buenaventura Bay. The coastal region, originally covered by mangroves and estuaries, has been impacted by port, fishing, logging, and shipyard activities. The construction of housing without adequate sanitation systems in coastal areas, the presence of hydrocarbon waste from industrial activities and ships, and the existence of sanitary landfills in low-lying areas has contributed to the degradation of water quality, a condition found in the area immediately surrounding Wharf 13, since it is located in an area with relatively low rates of water renewal.
The Grupo Portuario wharf is certified by the Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC).
Liquid Effluent Management: The port terminal’s main liquid effluent comes from rainwater runoff, which picks up carbon particulates from the coal yards. The existing yards, with a surface area of roughly 18,000 m2, discharge these waters through grids into a network of collectors, which in turn empty into three concrete storage tanks that act as solids interceptors (sedimenters). Once the solids have been extracted, the water is discharged into Buenaventura Bay. Grupo Portuario has discharge permits, granted by the Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca. Some of the products shipped from the terminal must be protected from the rain with plastic covers, which significantly decreases particulate runoff.
Bilge water from the moored vessels is removed by a specialized operator. This operation is supervised by a marine pollution control inspector appointed by the Harbor Master at the request of the maritime agency or the vessel’s port operator.
Solid Waste Management: The enterprise’s activities do not produce a significant volume of solid waste. Normally, no type of refuse is received from moored vessels. When necessary, the procedures established by the port regulators are followed.
During the lading of bulk cargo vessels, tarpaulins are placed between the ship’s rail and the wharf to prevent any product that spills from the grab from falling into the sea. After the ship is loaded, the port operator must clean the storage surface and ship’s deck to prevent residual matter from running into the sea.
The Integral Solid Waste Management Plan establishes a procedure for the safe collection, storage, and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste (solid, semi-solid, and liquid) in accordance with local rules and regulations.
Handling of Hazardous Products: The movement of hazardous materials (IMO cargo) through the marine terminal is handled according to the regulations established by the Port Authority, which follows the applicable international standards.
Before a docked vessel can be fueled, the maritime agency or the vessel’s port operator must request the Harbor Master to appoint a marine pollution control inspector to supervise the operation. The fuel can be loaded by transfer from a tank truck, following the procedures established in the regulations.
Dredging: Given the amount of sediment that the Dagua River deposits on emptying into Buenaventura Bay, periodic dredging is required for maintenance of the initial approach channel and the maneuvering and final approach areas. This operation is a joint undertaking with Buenaventura’s regional port authority using a suction dredger that stores and transports the sediment collected and transfers it to the dump previously authorized by the Buenaventura Harbor Master. The dredging company complies with an environmental management plan agreed on with the competent authorities.
Personal Safety and Emergency Response: The company has an Emergency and Evacuation Plan prepared in collaboration with the firm Colmena for response to possible contingencies or emergencies on the wharf, storage yards, and access routes. These emergencies include fires, explosions, spills, poisonings, discharges, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, storms, threats, attacks, robberies, and kidnappings. The plan is based on the recommendations established by the BASC and in the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, in addition to domestic and international legislation, including the National Contingency Plan on Spills of Hydrocarbons, Their Derivatives, and Harmful Substances in Ocean, River, and Lake Waters (decree 321 of 1999 of the Republic of Colombia), the standards of the International Maritime Organization, and recommendations of the international organization Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses. New personnel undergo a training process where they are familiarized with the risks and risk prevention through the company’s security policy and receive a copy of the industrial health and safety rules that they must follow.
In order to deal with contingencies, the terminal has adequate personal protective gear, firefighting equipment (including two tug boats with firefighting capabilities), a general alarm, an infirmary, and containment and clean-up equipment. The terminal has a procedure in place for investigating workplace accidents that includes establishing a plan for corrective action and follow-up on the solution implemented.
Labor Practices: Grupo Porturio and the companies that provide it with outsourced services comply with national labor laws, as well as the standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Core labor standards include: social security contributions, freedom of the workers to associate and organize into unions, and workplace non-discrimination. Company personnel are not members of any union. There is a joint occupational health committee to discuss occupational health and safety with the company. In accordance with Colombian law, all workers have health and workplace accident insurance coverage.
Monitoring and Follow-Up: For the first operation financed by the IIC, Grupo Portuario drafted an Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) to ensure compliance with domestic regulations and the IIC’s environmental and workplace safety and health guidelines. The actions established in that ESAP will remain in force. They include informing the IIC on the management of liquid effluents and solid waste, training programs on occupational safety and health and emergency response, and reports of accidents at the company. Grupo Portuario must also deliver a copy of the information on environmental parameters it provides regularly to the Corporación Autónoma del Valle del Cauca.