A holistic risk-oriented framework for port infrastructure adaption to climate change

Kana Nkasanga Patrick Mutumbo, World Maritime University


This research is the first attempt in developing a broad-based qualitative tool for assessing climate risk in ports and building resilience. In order to demonstrate the applicability of the conceptual tool, the new Durban Dig-Out Port (DDOP) under development in the City of Durban (South Africa) is used for case study. Central to this research is the building of widespread industry recognition of the need to factor climate change into decision making at early stages of port development.

The recent significant shift toward supply chain management and customer orientation practices calls for the need to assess the effectiveness of port services in a broader context well beyond port limits. This is also reinforced by the gradual shift in the definition of port infrastructure from physical assets to a complex interactive system (which encompasses notions of soft concepts), forming part of a broader logistic solution covering larger geographical spans. Given their vulnerable locations on coasts that are susceptible to climate variations, seaports face serious threats as a result of climate change. Unfortunately, the complex and uncertain nature of port climate risks makes traditional probabilistic risk management tools inappropriate. Ports require a unique and broad forward-looking management approach to climate change based on logistic network resilience rather than infrastructure resistance.