Although there are frequent debates on the cause of climate change, there’s no doubt that the climate is indeed changing. Because of these changes, the shipping industry has been noticeably affected. Here’s how climate changes are impacting the industry.
Climate Change and Maritime Trade Routes
While climate change affects everyone in some capacity, its effect on the shipping industry and all its sectors is palpable. Storms across the world are now stronger and come more frequently, resulting in significant impacts on maritime trade routes. Freight ships are often forced to adjust planned routes to avoid chaotic weather, which results in delays. Cargo losses or vessel damage also occur due to inclement weather. All these events add up to high added costs to the shipping industry.
Ports Are Also Impacted
Frequent, intense storms also severely impact shipping ports. Some storms are causing significant damage to the infrastructure of ports. Even at the minimum, storms will disrupt loading and discharging operations, resulting in delays. Eventually, rising sea levels will impact ports, ultimately sparking the need for significant infrastructure overhauls. This change will severely impact all coastal communities.
Flood tides, which are sudden powerful waves caused by severe storms, impact the ability to load or discharge cargo. Port modification may need to be made in the very near future to accommodate these dangerous flood tides.
The Silver Lining
The melting sea ice due to climate change is opening new opportunities for trade routes at certain times of the year that used to be impossible. The Northern Sea Route is now a foreseeable possibility, shortening transit times from Canadian ports.
It’s impossible to see exactly what climate change will bring to the shipping industry, but we will keep an eye on the situation and update you as it changes.