The world is an increasingly connected ecosystem of commerce and human interaction, bound together by infrastructure and transportation systems that facilitate the exchange of goods, services and ideas.
Marine transportation, ports, railways, highways and public transit systems all form the backbone of our now globally-connected world. The continued and efficient growth of these transportation systems is integral to our quality of life, yet few human activities so directly impact the use of the earth's resources.
In fact, over 90% of the world’s goods and resources are transported across our oceans, yet shipping remains inexplicably inefficient, no matter how measured. While air and land based transport systems - for goods or for people - better the low bar set by ocean shipping, myriad short and long term challenges remain that continue to restrict their economic, environmental and social potential.
We have broad and deep expertise built over decades of engagement with our public and private marine, port, highway and transit clients to help solve these challenges, creating more efficient and more profitable operations that can support communities, regions and countries for generations to come.
Just 25 of the world’s largest ships emit more sulphur annually than every one of the world’s 1.2 billion cars, combined -- according to the IMO these ships emit as much as 5,000 tons of sulphur per year, which is equivalent to 50 million cars.
An Illustration of Our Work
Port Development & Management
The Port of Baltimore is a multi-billion dollar economic engine for the State of Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. While the Port’s inland location offers strategic advantages due to its proximity to major population centers along the East Coast and the Midwest, it is presented with significant sustainability challenges due to its location within the delicate and ecologically rich Chesapeake Bay. Chief amongst those challenges have been the continual maintenance of 128 miles of approach channels and the management of dredged material.
Prior to 2001, the Maryland Port Administration Dredged Material Management Program had struggled with adversarial stakeholder relationships, strict time and financial budgets, and challenging technical issues making successful maintenance of its channel system extremely difficult. To meet these challenges and improve the Port’s efficiency, the MPA recognized that it needed a holistic operational approach that would yield lasting economic, social and environmental results.
Council Fire has been continuously engaged for 14+ years to provide a broad array of consultative services to support the Port of Baltimore in enhancing the sustainability of its operations and improving its competitive position. These services include comprehensive strategic planning, environmental policy development and implementation, regulatory assistance, award-winning, multi-level stakeholder outreach and public involvement, communications planning, sustainability counseling and implementation services, and operational assessments.
The results have been, and continue to be, substantial. There is now a greatly-expanded network of participants in Port Administration committees, unanimous reports from stakeholders on placement options for dredged material, and a greatly sharpened focus on opportunities for beneficial and innovative use projects for the Port and its surrounding communities. In addition, a model for urban restoration emerged at Masonville Cove where the Port partnered with stakeholders to conduct a massive environmental clean-up, construct a state-of-the-art environmental education center and secure much needed dredged material placement capacity. The site has since been designated by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service as the Baltimore Rivers to Harbor Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, the nation's first Urban Wildlife Refuge.