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Bilbao is "first port in the world" to obtain Environmental Product Declaration

Around 50 port community companies have participated in obtaining International EPD certification with assessment from Tecnalia

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Bilbao is "first port in the world" to obtain Environmental Product Declaration

The Port of Bilbao says that it has become the first port in the world to obtain the Environmental Product Declaration, based on an analysis of the environmental life cycle of port services.


The International EPD certification is the fruit of the collaboration of some 50 companies operating in or using the port. It brings together all the environmental impact derived from the port’s activities and has been assessed by Tecnalia, the centre for technological research and development.


The EPD is a Type III Ecolabel, which consists of a document providing information about the information concerning the environmental impact of the life cycle of a product, process or service.

This information is gathered by following a guide that specifies product category rules (PCR). One of the best known programmes for EPDs, which the port has applied, is the International EPD System, with over 650 EPDs distributed in 32 countries.


The analysis is based on the balance between mass and energy of the system being studied. This enables the relevant entries and exits to assess its environmental impact.


This study commenced in 2016 with complete data from the previous year, 2015. The project’s complexity and the vast amount of data analysed meant that the study was not completed until 2018, with the certificate being awarded in 2019.

The Bilbao team with the new EPD certificate
The Bilbao team with the new EPD certificate

The following processes identified in the PCR were included in the study: fuel production; raw materials; water consumption; auxiliary materials; construction of the port and buildings; warehouses and lighthouses; dredging; machinery, buildings and vehicle maintenance; fuel consumption of machinery and boilers; electricity consumption; personnel transport and waste collection and treatment.


The conclusions reached were as follows:

  • Building materials have the most relevant impact.
  • The impact of fuels is also significant in certain category impacts.
  • Electricity is the process that most contributes to the total impact.
  • Certain emissions due to fuel consumption (CO2 and particularly NOX) are important in determined categories.
  • MARPOL V waste and all hydrocarbons are the most relevant environmental features.

Now this impact has been diagnosed and all the areas controlled, the Port of Bilbao has a tool that will enable improvement areas to be detected, and consequently, measures can be taken to reduce environmental impact.


The port authority says it already contributes to impact reduction by taking measures to improve its services, such as:

  • Renewal of motor fleet so that vehicles are run by alternative fuels.
  • Setting the objective for all the electricity used to proceed from 100% renewable sources.
  • Setting high standards for other port companies to assume such initiatives, by among others, signing good practices agreements.
  • Taking part in, as up to now, in European projects encouraging the use of cleaner energy for vessels, for example, biofuels and LNG.
  • Improving air quality assessment and control systems.
  • Advancing in the project undertaken jointly with the Basque Water Agency and the Bilbao Biscay Water Board to reduce to a minimum the points where the Port can discharge into the sea.
  • Using 85% of re-used building materials and iron and steel aggregates in the construction of new quays.
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