Port of Dover wins ESPO Award

ESPO Award 2019

Published Nov 14, 2019 6:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Dover in the U.K. has been awarded the European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) Award 2019 in recognition of its successful strategy to reach out to the local community and to directly communicate with the port citizens. 

Using social media and demonstrating a high level of transparency about operational achievements, future strategies and environmental performance is becoming increasingly important for European ports.

The judges were impressed by Port of Dover’s strategy which is centered around campaigns on all media, electronic and others, leaflets, consultations, forums, workshops and sports events. However, the most important part of the strategy was giving back to the community by financial participation in charities and community groups and making the port's installations available to the public for events.

The Port of Dover won the 2019 Award for its project, Transparen-SEA (Socially Engaged Accountability), which aims to create a comprehensive and meaningful program of consultative and social community engagement events and cultivate an internal network of port ambassadors. This was supported by social media activity to connect directly with the community.

The Port launched a new app for port employees to communicate on port news and to celebrate successes linked to the strategic direction of the port. Giving staff their own social media platform has helped to enhance communication, transparency, engagement and pride, which then permeates back into the local community where many live. 

This supports a wider social media presence that started with the launch of the campaign “Deliver for Dover” through Facebook, Twitter and a microsite designed to engage people with the Port’s vision and to enhance community interaction and attendance at port events.

The Port’s program of community engagement included the creation of a Port & Community Forum which aims to promote positive community engagement on a wide range of port issues. The Port has also held large-scale community workshops on future development plans so that the general public can directly help shape them. Beyond consultation, major public events are being held regularly on the port estate, such as the Port of Dover Community Regatta and the White Cliffs Christmas Festival. Furthermore, the Port of Dover Community Fund, established in 2015, provides significant financial support to 50 local charities and community groups.

The ESPO Award 2019 saw four projects from Port of Dover, Dublin Port Company, Ports of Stockholm and Union des Ports de France compete for the prize.