The maritime industry is one of the major sectors in the world. World Bank’s published article even noted that maritime operations make up 80% of the total volume of all world trade.
Unfortunately, just like the other lucrative industries, the maritime industry doesn’t just deal with accommodating high service demands and constantly deals with different environmental concerns.
Maritime companies have shown a significant concern with promoting the safety and cleanliness of oceans by lessening their harsh effects on water pollution. Many of these companies, for example, use shipping containers and chemical-resistant bunds to control dangerous liquid spillage.
Alkali fluids and oils can significantly compromise the plant and animal life in the ocean. Keeping them in specialized containers can dramatically help if the cargo goes overboard.
But although these practices are critical, there are also concerns regarding gas emissions, and addressing these is as important as caring for the ocean. With the continuous worsening of climate change every year, there is also an alarming rate of the increase of carbon monoxide that ships emit.
By the year 2050, it’s expected that the emissions of greenhouse gases from the maritime industry will make up 10% of the total emissions in the world. While shipping is considered the most efficient means of transport for energy use, it still uses vast quantities of refining by-products of crude oil that can be pretty damaging to the planet.
The maritime industry also significantly contributes to the worsening of climate change because of the black carbon emissions that result from maritime fuel combustion.
Having said all this, why should maritime companies join the battle against climate change in the first place? There are many reasons. However, the one that stands out from the economic perspective is that climate change poses a severe threat to the maritime industry.
Read on below to learn the impact of climate change on maritime operations, particularly their profitability and efficiency.
Additional Costs of Operations
Unplanned costs are necessary to repair or relocate facilities during a storm surge’s fallout. But the additional expenses don’t simply end there. The refrigeration prices may also increase, together with the rising temperature levels.
In addition, harsh conditions, such as more extended periods of severe weather, may result in less cost-effective shipping routes and prolonged travels. Extreme rainfall events can also cause a delay in other essential shipping tasks, including the unloading and loading of cargo and shipment once they reach the ports.
Reduced Demand and Need for Shipping Services
Growing crops has become a less sustainable and more challenging because of intensified heat and drought. A report even stated that the output of some natural produce such as corn, wheat, and soybean in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and other US states has significantly reduced.
Due to the smaller amount of goods to be transported, shipping companies will also experience reduced service demand. Ports may experience a plummeting amount of generated profits because of the drop in available businesses.
Higher Risk of Damage to Port Infrastructure
The rising sea levels also pose a threat to port infrastructure. Port infrastructure is located at sea level. It means that if the water seas drastically rise, it will submerge and eventually destroy the infrastructure. Although it’s important to note that rising sea levels are pretty slow and steady, its vicious nature is imminent.
Some ports didn’t show positive attitudes regarding their infrastructure’s security. Many of them shared that the plans they have in place are guided by a 10-year outlook even if they built sturdy enough infrastructure that can last for several decades.
To address this problem, changes in practices of structural and building development are being made. As of writing, however, it’s impossible to eliminate the threat of destruction to port infrastructure.
The rising sea levels combined with flooding and storm surges are expected to be detrimental to safety even on land. The damages are also not just limited to the port infrastructure alone. The inundation that storm surges and floods cause will also significantly impact most port facilities operations.
Laborers, in particular, will be hindered from doing their job to make room for downtime, which can result in potential loss of income. Aside from this, the delays and higher costs of restoration, repair, or even relocation of certain facilities may also impact profitability.
More Possibilities of Re-routing
Due to the continuous melting of ice around the North Pole as a result of global warming, patterns of sedimentation are also changing, coastal erosions are getting worse than before, and sea levels are seeing a significant rise. All of these dramatic changes have a severe impact on ship channels.
Since the current routes are more challenging and safe to pass through than they used to be, planning new ways and courses is critical. Changes in routine can deter productivity and can become highly inconvenient not just for the shipping lines but also for their customers.
Maritime companies must set aside financial and time resources to plan these routes rather than continue their usual operations.
Meanwhile, the increased transit time will impact the customer’s deliveries.
Why Maritime Operations Should Help in the Battle Against Climate Change
Climate change has been causing ravaging effects on different aspects of human life. Maritime operations are not exempted from significant economic and technical consequences.
Thus, it makes sense to clamor for the involvement of more port administrators across the world to take action and get involved in fighting against climate change and its adverse effects. Through proper preparation, risks can be mitigated, and threats can be made less severe.