Over the past decade, environmental protection and preservation have become global issues drawing worldwide attention. As one of the leading container terminal operators in Hong Kong, Modern Terminals has set the standard by committing to the sustainable development of the container terminal industry and the protection of Hong Kong's environment.
This dedication is reflected in Modern Terminals' environmental policy which pledges social responsibility and care for the community, complete compliance with relevant environmental legislation, conservation of resources and maximisation of energy efficiency. Lee Kwok Tung, general manager — engineering & planning, Modern Terminals Limited says, "We also implement best industrial practices to minimise the environmental impact arising from our business activities and promote environmental awareness to our employees and business partners by supporting meaningful environmental programmes."
Modern Terminals also continuously monitors and seeks to improve existing environmental protection performance to ensure they stay at the forefront of the industry.
To ensure the company's environmental protection system functions effectively, an environmental committee was established to drive and supervise the progress of environmental protection programmes. In addition, regular surveys are conducted on randomly selected staff. Results of the surveys paint a clearer picture for the committee regarding overall staff environmental awareness, helping to identify issues which need immediate attention. Modern Terminals then channels important environmental information through the company newsletters to maximise its exposure to staff.
Competent task forces
The Energy Efficiency Task Force and the Environmental Promotion Task Force are two teams of representatives from various departments assisting the implementation of Modern Terminals' established action plans. Mr Lee elaborates, "Our people are encouraged to voice any environmental concerns and opinions to the environmental committee and task forces. We also conduct environmental road shows for our staff to raise their environmental awareness and inform them of the company's environmental initiatives." Contents of these road shows are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure every department is au fait with the latest ecological updates.
Specific environmental initiatives include the complete replacement of industrial diesel oil (IDO) with ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) for all container handling equipment, yard vehicles and tractors from early 2008. "The anticipated result of this initiative will be the reduction of SOx (sulphur oxide) emissions by approximately 99 per cent," reveals Mr Lee.
Rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTG) have also been modified to minimise fuel consumption and reduce emissions. Mr Lee highlights the benefits: "In a pilot trial of the first hybrid RTG, a 40 per cent fuel saving was recorded. Due to the success of the project, a second hybrid RTG is already in operation."
Further afield, at Modern Terminals' business units on the mainland, Dachan Bay Terminal One in the Pearl River Delta was the first container terminal in the world to deploy a full fleet of electricity-powered RTGs (E-RTGs). Along similar lines, Taicang International Gateway in the Yangtze River Delta is also implementing E-RTG conversion.
For potential candidates considering an engineering career with Modern Terminals, Mr Lee says an array of options is available including terminal planning and improvement, system planning, equipment maintenance, facilities and technical support. Applicants for engineering posts in particular should have a bachelor's degree or higher diploma in a engineering related field. Relevant work experience is also advantageous and the ideal candidate should demonstrate strong communication and interpersonal skills.
As the mainland sees ever stronger growth in the container terminal industry, candidates with cross-boundary communication skills would also be considered an asset. "The ability to cope in a dynamic, unpredictable environment is also valuable, as is the willingness to travel to China on a regular basis," notes Mr Lee.
To help identify and attract talented young people, Modern Terminals began an annual internship programme a few years ago which provides nine to 12 months of work experience for undergraduate students from local universities. "In essence, this gives potential employees a taste of a career with us and helps our team identify the individuals who will take our company into a brighter future," concludes Mr Lee.