Sunday, September 20, 2020

"Seaports Expected to Grow by up to Fourfold by 2050"

 From the American Geophysical Union's EOS, September 9:

New research finds adaptation of ports to sea level rise cheap compared to new construction needed to keep up with growing maritime trade.

Seaport footprints will need to expand by up to 3,689 square kilometers (1,424 square miles) worldwide in the next 3 decades to cope with the combination of sea level rise and rising demand, according to a new study in Earth’s Future.

Ships transport 80% of trade goods worldwide. Ports have been expanding since the 1980s to meet increasing growth in the sector driven by liberalization of trade, the opening of China’s economy, and increased use of containers.

The new study by Hanson and Nicholls modeled trade growth and port demand through 2050 under four combinations of climate policy interventions and global temperature increases. All scenarios lead to increased traffic through ports, requiring doubling or even quadrupling port areas.

The cost of building new port capacity to meet demand for freight traffic will dwarf sea level rise adaptation costs, according to the authors. The scenario with minimal greenhouse gas restrictions produced the highest cost projections, US$750 billion, generated mostly from port expansion to meet rising demand....