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News / Comment

11MAY
2016
NEWS / Any port in a storm? Acclimatise explores climate risks to ports at the Adaptation Futures Conference
Category: Latest News, Transport & Communications

By Will Bugler

Today is the second day of the 2016 Adaptation Futures conference, being held in Rotterdam. Acclimatise staff are involved with several sessions throughout the day. One session, being chaired by Laura Canevari, focuses on climate risk management and adaptation in ports.

The session explores challenges and opportunities generated by climate change in ports across the globe. It will highlight the risks to ports using examples form, among others, a newly published study on climate risks to Manzanillo port in Mexico.

The study centres on the Port of Manzanillo in the State of Colima, Mexico. It is one of the main cargo ports in the world and accounts for 60% of cargo on the Mexican Pacific coast and 46% of all the containerised cargo in the country.

Downtime for the port is a big deal. On a typical day the port handles around 19 million tons of cargo so when there’s a problem that forces the port to close, even for a day, it costs a lot of money. In fact port authorities have calculated that it costs over 300,000 Mexican Pesos (USD $16627) per hour of downtime.

The importance of taking action on climate change has been emphasised in recent years as Manzanillo port has been forced to close on several occasions due to flooding. With sea level rise, ports around the world can expect greater incidence of coastal flooding to occur in the future.

Recognising this, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Administración Portuaria Integral of Manzanillo S.A. de C.V (API Manzanillo) decided take action. They commissioned a group of consultants lead by Acclimatise, to assess the capacity of the port to respond to potential climate change risks and to foster opportunities stemming from early action and adaptation responses.

The study analyses how climate-related risks and opportunities could affect the various elements of the Port of Manzanillo’s value chain, and identifies and quantifies (where possible) the key risks and opportunities. It identifies three main climate risks facing the port:

1.     Flooding of access roads;

2.     Infrastructure damage from flooding; and

3.     Increased sediment in the port that could prevent ships from accessing the port.

The report identifies 21 separate priority climate change adaptation options for the port to help increase its resilience. Importantly it presents the relative cost effectiveness of these options to help decision-makers with implementation.

The adaptation options include both ‘hard’measures such as upgrading the drainage system in the port and upgrading sediment traps and ‘soft’ measures such as introducing flood warning systems and improved traffic management.

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You can download a copy of the report in both English and Spanish from our resource library.

For an Executive summary please click here.

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