Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2015 Jan 12;22(2):1072-84. Epub 2014 Aug 12.
Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Department of Ecology, Klaipeda University, Herkaus Manto Str. 84, 92294, Klaipeda, Lithuania,
Freight handling in EU ports fell by more than 12 % during the global economic crisis in 2008-2009 after almost a decade of continuous growth. The decrease of freight handling in the Klaipeda seaport, the only port in Lithuania, was 6.7 % and happened due to the dominant outward movement of goods (mainly oil products). The Klaipeda seaport, due to its peculiarity, is the only ice-free port in the northern part of Baltic Sea. The present study explores the environmental impact of Klaipeda seaport activities from 2001 to 2011. Moreover, it compares the environmental effectiveness of environmental protection strategies used in the four biggest companies that, in fact, cover about 88 % of total activities (except general cargo) of the seaport. The first group of targeted companies used an environmental protection strategy to implement an ISO 14001-based environmental management system, and the second group selected to follow environmental management practices without certification. The paper analyses the development of the companies' activities in regard to the change of environmental effectiveness. The paper evaluates the pressure of the economic crisis on the companies' activities and its influence on environmental decisions, with particular interest in the ability of different environmental protection systems to resist and handle the expected performance. The study identified a significant decrease in companies' activities during the crisis period. However, the economic activities and environmental effectiveness demonstrated similar short-term tendencies in regard to the environmental strategy selection but differed in long-term perspective.