In 2016 the IMarEST became a partner in the PIANC Think Climate coalition - an unprecedented collaboration between PIANC partners (details found below) committing to work together to help the inland and maritime navigation infrastructure sector respond to climate change.
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 coalition has released a guidance document, prepared by the international experts on PIANC’s Working Group 178, providing 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 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:
- Provides methodological support to the recent PIANC Declaration on Climate Change, 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, and
- Fulfils an action in the adaptation strand of the Navigating a Changing Climate partnership’s Action Plan, to develop and deliver technical guidance on climate change adaptation
The report can be downloaded for free on the PIANC website.
PIANC Think Climate Coalition - Navigating a Changing Climate initiative
By furthering understanding, providing targeted technical support, and building capacity, the coalition’s ‘Navigating a Changing Climate’ initiative will encourage the owners, operators and users of waterborne transport infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shift to low carbon maritime and inland navigation infrastructure, and to act urgently to strengthen resilience and improve preparedness to adapt to the changing climate.
Waterborne transport, both maritime and inland, is an essential enabler to human society. It is also one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally sound means of meeting global transport needs although more can be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Whereas recent years have seen considerable efforts by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to reach agreement on a global approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, much less attention has been paid to the infrastructure that supports waterborne transport. The Navigating a Changing Climate initiative is designed to address this gap.
Further details are available at PIANC - Think Climate or by contacting the IMarEST technical team via
PIANC’s ‘Think Climate’ coalition currently comprises the following international Associations and organisations:
- The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC)
- International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH)
- International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA)
- International Maritime Pilots’ Association (IMPA)
- Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST)
- International Bulk Terminals Association (IBTA) a coalition of the International Dry Bulk Terminals Group and the Coal Export Terminal Operators Association
- European Dredging Association (EuDA)
- Smart Freight Centre (SFC)
- European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO)
PIANC is the forum where professionals around the world join forces to provide expert advice on cost-effective, reliable and sustainable infrastructures to facilitate the growth of waterborne transport. Established in 1885, PIANC continues to be the leading partner for government and private sector in the design, development and maintenance of ports, waterways and coastal areas.
As a non-political and non-profit organisation, PIANC brings together the best international experts on technical, economic and environmental issues pertaining to waterborne transport infrastructures. Members include national governments and public authorities, corporations and interested individuals.