Commenting on the work of the IAPH Risk and Resilience Technical Committee, IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven, thanked the contributors:
“The lessons learned during the COVID19 pandemic and the identified need to improve and strengthen port resilience resulted in IAPH establishing its Risk and Resilience Committee as a principal strategic area of interest alongside its Committees for Climate and Energy and Data Collaboration. Applying the same pragmatic approach by the IAPH-WPSP COVID19 Taskforce, this guideline is the first IAPH tool produced by expert regular and associate members from this Committee which aims to support ports in establishing a structured approach towards risk management, business continuity and organizational preparedness. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the main author and Committee Chair Niels Vanlaer of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Vice Chair Shri Madiwal of Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, and other authors including Mike Yarwood of TT Club and Ingrid Boqué of the Hamburg Port Authority.”
In the main text, Niels Vanlaer writes : “Risks always present themselves within a certain context and we must be aware of the fact that ‘if you have seen one port, you have seen one port’. It is therefore crucial for ports to understand the environment in which they operate, and what the vulnerabilities within that environment are.” He adds: “If we want to make our ports more resilient, we must make sure that we are prepared for disruptions and disasters: both the ones we identified as risk, but also the ones that come as a surprise. We must be ready to respond to those that we can respond to and be sufficiently flexible to improvise our response to the ones we cannot prepare for. Finally we must learn from our own incidents, but also be ready to share our incident history with other ports so that we can create mutual learning.”
To assist in this, IAPH has also established an online risk inventory portal which will act as a central hub for mutual learning from ports which have dealt with or which are proactively preparing for specific events and incidents.
In addition to containing the three crucial infographics that form the backbone of the guidelines, it offers the first two examples on how ports deal with specific threats, with illustrative case studies from member ports.
Patrick Verhoeven concluded: “Effectively managing business continuity during the next crisis has become an essential port requirement – this living document will evolve along the path of continuous improvement with our members.”
Founded in 1955, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) has developed into a global alliance of 169 port authorities, including many of the world’s largest port operators as well as 134 port-related businesses. Comprised of 87 different nationalities across the world’s continents, member ports handle approximately one third of the world’s sea-borne trade and well over 60% of the world container traffic. With its NGO consultative status recognized by the IMO, ECOSOC, ILO, UNCTAD, UNEP, and WCO, IAPH leads global port industry initiatives on decarbonization and energy transition, risk and resilience management, and accelerating digitalization in the maritime transport chain. Its World Ports Sustainability Program has grown into the reference database of best practices of ports applying the UN Sustainable Development Goals and integrating them into their businesses.