Barcelona Container Port Photo: Davies / CC-BY-SA

The Port of Barcelona is a participating incentive provider in the World Ports Climate Initiative's Environmental Ship Index.

Mitigation and moving towards low carbon waterborne transport infrastructure

All sectors must play their part in climate change mitigation. The waterborne transport infrastructure sector is no exception.

Port and waterway infrastructure and operations typically account for only a very small proportion of the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with the shipment of a particular consignment. The most significant proportion by far is associated with the sea voyage, and a varying amount with connecting transport.

It is nonetheless important that the owners, operators and users of waterborne transport infrastructure take steps to minimise the emissions associated with their activities if they are to contribute to the ‘less-than-2-degrees’ pathway.

The associations represented on the the Navigating a Changing Climate Partnership recognise the importance – and the urgency – of implementing effective mitigation measures and of moving towards low carbon infrastructure.

Coalition members further acknowledge the need for innovation alongside conventional emissions-reduction measures: for example initiatives aimed at improving integration to increase energy efficiency or at creating carbon sinks in coastal areas by Working with Nature.

As with other sectors, such innovation has the potential to bring associated social, employment and economic opportunities.

Wednesday, 09 June 2021 21:11

Most ports are still not planning for climate change ...

Posted by

Until more ports take action [to adapt to rising sea levels and other impacts], shippers will have to navigate a port ecosystem where some facilities are preparing for climate change and others are not: that is the conclusion of a recent article in Supply Chain Dive

The article cites Austin Becker, a professor in The University of Rhode Island's Department of Marine Affairs, referring to the draft findings of a recent survey. Becker notes that while ports such as Los Angeles and New York have begun resiliency planning, they could be in a minority of U.S. ports: "It turns out, there aren't actually that many that have," he said. "There are about 300 or so ports in the U.S. and ... we were able to find about 10 that have gone through a resilience planning process."

In addition to a focus on what is being done or needs to be done to prepare for rising sea levels around the USA, the article also highlights the importance of understanding port-specific inter-dependencies; and stresses how working with partners needs to be a priority. In the absence of adequate preparedness, it finds that the inherent interconnectedness of port systems risks compounding the problem, leaving 'assets such as warehouses, trucking networks and railroads vulnerable to disruptions from climate change and rising sea levels'.