RSS Feed

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


Policy Brief: ICCCAD: Planning for adaptation in Bangladesh

This paper discusses the experiential learning that Bangladesh gained during more than a decade of a...  Read More

EU-MACS report: Acclimatise and Twente University: Analysing existing data infrastructures for climate services

Acclimatise and EU-MACS partner Twente University finalised a report analysing the existing climate ...  Read More

Report: University of Arizona, Acclimatise, SERDP: Climate change impacts and adaptation on Southwestern DoD facilities

A newly published Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) report complete...  Read More
More Resources

News / Comment

NEWS / April on the Acclimatise Network: Any port in a storm? Climate change adaptation and ports
Category: Latest News, Transport & Communications


Image: Water Container Port Cranes Hamburg Tanker Ships. CC0

By Will Bugler

Arguably one of the most significant developments in global trade has been containerisation. Developed in the wake of World War II, the familiar metal cargo containers standardised the shipment of goods around the globe and allowed seaports to handle vastly more goods than was previously possible. The importance of the 20ft long, 8ft wide containers is emphasised by the fact that today, world trade is measured not by weight, but in Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs). Ports sit at the heart of the global trade network, connecting ships with land transport and consumer markets. Today, 90% of world trade by volume passes through ports, and the world’s largest ports handle tens of millions of TEUs each year. However, their coastal locations makes seaports and their supporting infrastructure, vulnerable to climate impacts. 

Containerisation has gone hand in hand with a trend towards bigger ships, which have necessitated larger, deeper ports. With fewer ports handling, ever larger quantities of goods, building climate resilience of those facilities is of utmost importance to the global economy. Seaports in the U.S. alone support the employment of over 23 million people, and cargo activity accounts for 26 percent of the U.S. economy, generating nearly $4.6 trillion in total economic activity in 2014.

At the end of last month The International Navigation Association (PIANC) - a professional organisation focussed on port and waterway development and management - hosted the NavClimate conference. The event brought delegates and 'Think Climate coalition' partners from all parts of the ports sector together to discuss the challenge of making ports more resilient to climate change and its impacts.

This month Acclimatise, itself a supporting partner of NavClimate, will explore the impacts of climate change on ports, port infrastructure and the goods and services on which the industry depends. Expect articles and interviews with some of the leading thinkers on climate impacts to ports.

For now we leave you with this excellent podcast from the series Containers which emphasises the importance of ports and containers to world trade: