Interview with Mr. Mosese Lavemai

Mr. Mosese Lavemai, Chief Executive Officer, Ports Authority Tonga

Mr. Mosese Lavemai is the Chief Executive Officer of Ports Authority Tonga.

Mr Lavemai has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Ports Authority Tonga since 2010. With 18 years in Port Management, Mosese also held senior positions including the Chief Financial Officer. Before joining the Ports Authority Tonga, he spent 9 years in development banking. Mr. Lavemai had been a member of the Executive Committee of the Pacific Maritime Transport Alliance (PMTA) since 2010. Mr Lavemai was appointed President of the PMTA in August 2017 for a 3-year term, a position he had held previously for 3 years prior to becoming the Immediate Past President.

The Pacific Green Business Centre was interested in Tonga’s efforts in transforming their port into a Green Port and we wanted to know more.

Q1: Tonga is in the process of establishing a green port. What does it mean to have a green port?

Having a “Green Port” to Ports Authority Tonga (PAT) means undertaking port activities in a sustainable and climate friendly manner. The ultimate goal is reducing the port activities negative impacts on Tonga’s environment. This involves promoting a sustainable port where PAT and Port Users proactively collaborate on implementing initiatives where all stakeholders operate responsibly to maintain green growth.

Q2: When did the project start and when is it expected to be finalised?

The practical implementation of the Green Port in Tonga began with the strategic design of the port infrastructure in Nuku’alofa at the time where the container vessels, cruise ships, domestic boats, oil and gas tankers operated from one wharf – the Queen Salote Wharf. Port congestion, efficiency and their impact on Tonga’s society, economy and environment became issues that had to be addressed. Further details on some of the  initiatives taken to promote a Green Port may be found on this document.

Q3: What are the economic advantages for Tonga in having such a port?

The economic advantages for Tonga of having a Green Port include but not limited to:
1. Creating jobs in the renewable energy sector and its supply chain thus providing a significant boost to the economy.
2. Maintaining a sustainable Port that is in harmony with its environment while matching limited and decreasing environmental space and resources. This will assist assuring developments that are anticipated on the needs of future generations where the Port of Nuku’alofa, Tonga and the region the Port of Nuku’alofa services will mutually benefit.
3. Promoting sustainable management of the maritime environment that contributes to alleviating poverty, creating sustainable livelihoods, increasing food security, improving human well-being and social equity while reducing ecological risks and environmental degradation.

Q4: Is there an impact on maritime policy by taking this path?

Promoting and sustaining a Green Port should strengthen maritime policy to promote:
1. Protection and restoration of carbon that sinks in coastal and marine ecosystems.
2. Adoption of zero or low carbon clean technologies and machineries at the port.
3. Reducing ocean pollutants, ensuring effective management of solid and hazardous wastes, promoting sustainable fisheries methods and aquaculture management regimes.
4. Promoting collaboration among stakeholders – port, regulator, port users and shipping lines – to sustaining a Green Port.
5. Promoting health and safety in port management and operations.

Q5: What kind of savings would such a port make by becoming green, in dollar figures?

Estimated monetary savings per annum could be of more than TOP$100,000 (c. USD 45,000).

Q6: Would you recommend this to other ports in the Pacific and around the world?

The impact of the maritime industry on the environment is a global issue. Maintaining a Green Port cannot be successful without the collaboration of all the stakeholders involved in the global environment. Having a Green Port should be promoted not only in the Pacific Region but also globally.

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