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PIANC1 launches technical guidance on climate change adaptation planning for ports and inland waterways WG 178

PIANC WG 178

Ports and waterways around the world are experiencing air and water temperature increases, rising sea levels, and changes in parameters such as seasonal precipitation, wind and wave conditions. Many are also seeing more frequent and severe extreme events including storms, heatwaves and droughts.

Climate change represents a significant risk to business, operations, safety and infrastructure – and hence to local, national and global economies. Waterborne transport infrastructure will be adversely affected.  Port and waterway operators need to take urgent action to strengthen resilience and adapt.

The guidance, which has been prepared by the international experts on PIANC’s Working Group 178, provides an introduction to the potential consequences of climate change and some of the challenges to be addressed if ports and waterways are to adapt effectively.   It is a pleasure to note that IHMA was well-represented on the Working Group.

This document then introduces a four-stage methodological framework to help port and waterway owners and operators plan for improved resilience: 

  • Stage 1 facilitates understanding of how assets, operations and systems could be impacted and who should be involved in identifying climate change adaptation requirements.
  • Stage 2 identifies the type of climate-related information needed to prepare an adaptation strategy, and explains how reference to climate change scenarios can assist in understanding the range of possible future changes.
  • Stage 3 describes how the vulnerability of waterborne transport infrastructure assets, operations and systems can be assessed and a risk analysis undertaken.
  • Stage 4 presents a portfolio of potential measures (structural, operational and institutional) to be considered when developing an adaptation pathway. 

Sixteen international good practice case studies are appended to the guidance, along with various templates to be used for data collection and record keeping.

This guidance also: 

  1. Provides methodological support to the recent PIANC Declaration on Climate Change2, enabling PIANC’s members and the wider navigation infrastructure community to take timely action to strengthen resilience, and adapt port and waterway infrastructure and operations to the effects of climate change.
  2. Fulfils an action in the adaptation strand of the Navigating a Changing Climate3 partnership’s Action Plan, to develop and deliver technical guidance on climate change adaptation.  

Interest by international associations

The following eight international associations with interests in waterborne transport infrastructure are partners in the Navigating a Changing Climate initiative: 

  • International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).
  • International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA).
  • International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA).
  • Smart Freight Centre (SFC).
  • European Dredging Association (EuDA).
  • European Sea Ports’ Organisation (ESPO).
  • Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST).
  • Inland Waterways International (IWI) 

In addition, more than 50 other organisations have signed up as supporters of the initiative.

More information can be obtained at:

https://navclimate.pianc.org/about/navigating-a-changing-climate-partnership

 

1 PIANC is a global, non-political and non-profit organisation that brings together international experts on technical, economic and environmental issues relevant to the design, development and maintenance of ports, harbours, waterways, marinas and coastal areas. PIANC’s mission is to provide expert guidance, recommendations and technical advice, so as to keep the international waterborne transport community connected and informed.  In particular, the association is renowned for its high-quality technical reports on ports and waterborne transport infrastructure.  More information is to be found at: www.pianc.org 

2 The PIANC Declaration on Climate Change, launched by PIANC’s President on 10 December 2019, during the Round Table on Resilience at COP25 in Madrid, Spain, can be found here: www.pianc.org/think-climate  

3Navigating a Changing Climate is a PIANC-led Global Climate Action initiative, set up under the Marrakech Partnership in the lead-up to COP21 in Paris, where the Paris Climate Change Agreement was signed. The objective of the initiative is to provide support to the owners and operators of waterborne transport infrastructure as they respond to the climate change challenge by: raising awareness; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; strengthening resilience and adapting infrastructure and operations; and seeking integrated solutions including Working with Nature.

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Seafarers UK is a charity that has been helping those in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families.

This aid has been achieved by grants to organisations and projects across the Merchant Navy, the Fishing Fleets, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

In 2019 Seafarers UK awarded 53 grants totalling £2.2m to 43 maritime welfare charities.

Emergency appeal

On 3 April Seafarers UK made an open appeal on the world wide web to draw attention to the unprecedented times when the effects of COVID-19 are being felt all over the world with the seafaring community being no exception.

As an island nation, the UK is particularly dependent on its seafarers to keep the UK supplied with food, medicine, fuel and other essential supplies. As such, the Government has acknowledged the importance of those who work in the supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic and has officially designated seafarers as key workers.

As the world fights the Coronavirus pandemic seafarers are silently playing a vital role in keeping the nation afloat, under extremely challenging and unpredictable conditions.

On 2 April cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam disembarked more than 1,200 passengers in Port Everglades, Florida. These developments, combined with one remaining disembarkation being coordinated, represents the processing of more than 120 vessels in the last three weeks to remove 250,000 passengers from cruise ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This was reported by USCG HQ Media service from Washington.

US Coast Guard, under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working with Department of Homeland Security partners Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as well as state and local entities from multiple port jurisdictions, facilitated the safe landing, screening, quarantine and repatriation of these passengers in a manner that has prevented further spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many passengers were brought to safe harbour in the United States when international ports refused entry.