Due to the great variety of cargo and the different services they provide, port areas are complex systems that require innovative solutions to ensure the quality of the aquatic environment without undermining the economy on which they are based.

“Improving the consistency of sustainable development regulations”

90% of global trade is carried by sea, which makes maritime transport the backbone of international trade. Ports play a key role in the supply chain, forming the central link between maritime and land transport. IHCantabria has developed, for Spain’s national port agency (Puertos del Estado), the Recommendation for Maritime Works (ROM) 5.1 “Quality of Coastal Waters in Port Areas”. This Recommendation, adapted to the requirements of environmental laws, seeks to identify and reduce the environmental impacts of ports in order to prevent, control and manage their environmental risks. Moreover, the publication of ROM 5.1 marked a milestone in the achievement of five national and international research projects, which has yielded important publications in journals and doctoral theses.

In order to facilitate transfer of technology to society and to the entities involved in applying ROM 5.1 to ports, the Institute has developed various tools.

These include an automated computer tool to aid in decision making, the ROM 5.1 Management System, and numerical tools for studying trends in pollutant transport. This has resulted in ROM 5.1 being applied in 14 ports of general interest (Santander, Gijón, A Coruña, Huelva, Bay of Cádiz, Tenerife, Los Cristianos, La Estaca, La Gomera, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Gandía, Sagunto, Valencia and Tarragona) and in 4 European ports (Falmouth, Belfast, Aveiro, Portimao). The leadership of IHCantabria, together with Puertos del Estado, and the Port Aquatic Management working group of the PROTECMA technology platform, with more than 900 members, and its inclusion in the prestigious international World Harbours Project, with only 25 international partners, have also resulted from this work.

The methodological procedures that make up ROM 5.1 have been disseminated through classroom courses that have been taught to more than 500 professionals.

IHCantabria has also opted for virtual and open teaching with more than 9000 participants in the six editions of the “ROM 5.1 Quality of Port Waters” course given to date.