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March 31, 2004

AAPA launches knowledge-sharing initiative

An American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) initiative to nurture "a hemisphere-wide port industry culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration" was launched at the Association's recent Spring Conference in Washington, DC.

Called SHARE (Seaports of the Hemisphere Allied in Relationships for Excellence), the initiative is in response to what AAPA Chairman of the Board Mike Leone of the Massachussetts Port Authority cited as a "litany of challenges." These involve accommodating dramatic trade growth in a secure and environmentally sensitive manner, Chairman of the Board Mike Leone announced (SHARE) as a springboard for solutions.

"The port industry’s greatest resource and strongest mechanism for best handling our challenges is ourselves," Leone told the assembly. "As port management, we all share many daunting challenges. It only makes sense to collaboratively develop and share in the solutions, as well. The SHARE program lays the groundwork to help us do precisely that."

AAPA President Kurt Nagle said common denominators of the SHARE initiative are dedication to strengthening the port industry, belief in the power of community, open sharing of knowledge, pooled expertise and a desire to achieve excellence. He said AAPA will facilitate SHARE through its education and training programs, technical committees, information technology, technical assistance, knowledge communities and special projects.

The recently-announced Environmental Management System (EMS) Assistance Project was highlighted as a successful program in the SHARE spirit.

A partnership effort between AAPA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Global Environment & Technology Foundation, the two-year EMS project is currently being implemented at nine major ports. The program’s processes allow participants to analyze, control and improve the environmental consequences of their activities. Benefits experienced by similar organizations include improved overall environmental performance, expanded pollution opportunities, improved compliance, and enhanced operational control and efficiency.

The SHARE initiative was a driving force behind the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the conference between AAPA and the Department of the Army, represented by Secretary of the Army for Civil Works John Paul Woodley.

The MOU sets forth a set of shared partnership principles to guide the Corps of Engineers and public port authority members in developing and maintaining the nation’s port and harbor infrastructure. The agreement is a milestone in AAPA’s Quality Partnership Initiative between AAPA and the Corps, which seeks to blend ports’ areas of expertise with the Corps’ in a collaborative, mutually beneficial arrangement.

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