Port Resilience: Overcoming Threats to Maritime Infrastructure and Operations from Climate Change

Ports are a critical element in the global supply chain and any disruption in that transportation system can have significant impacts on the U.S. economy. Climate change and associated sea level rise have the potential to cause significant and frequent damage to the coastal environment if precautions are not taken. The location and nature of a port makes it susceptible to both natural and human-made disasters. Ports will inherently have some level of vulnerability to disruptions because of their location (adjacent to waterways) and their interdependencies (industrial and societal) with their associated communities. Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms on the Eastern seaboard, combined with future trends of sea-level rise and storm severity, have demonstrated that reducing the impact of port damages is an economic necessity. Actions can be taken in coastal communities and along the working waterfront include protective infrastructure as well as social infrastructure that will increase resilience. This project desires to identify the best linkages of physical and social infrastructure that will provide for full and rapid recovery in the coastal zone following a major disruption. Research will include the review of the physical and social infrastructure that existed following Hurricane Sandy and identify through structured stakeholder interviews the circumstances that led to the port's storm related impacts, subsequent closure for a week, and recovery of the waterside before the landside facilities. Findings from literature reviews and local agency and industry stakeholders involved will be identified, mitigation activities undertaken will be described, vulnerabilities and resiliency gaps sought and described, and a conceptual framework developed to describe the processes and approaches used to mitigate the problems of sea level rise and coastal flooding during storms. Guidelines and engineering tools to aid decision making to reduce the impact of a significant event will be developed using findings from Hurricane Sandy and other port disruptions as well as the output from a scenario-based work to be conducted as part of a national conference on innovative technologies and practices in the marine transportation system. The guidelines and the tools will be formulated to help facilitate the recovery of coastal communities and port and intermodal connections following flood impacts and storm damage across a region. The overriding objective is to make the New York and New Jersey port facilities and associated supply chain transportation operations more resilient in the future to disruptions of all types.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    University Transportation Research Center

    City College of New York
    Marshak Hall, Suite 910, 160 Convent Avenue
    New York, NY  United States  10031
  • Project Managers:

    Eickemeyer, Penny

  • Performing Organizations:

    Stevens Institute of Technology

    Hoboken, NJ  United States  07030-5991
  • Principal Investigators:

    Miller, Jon

    Wakeman, Thomas.

  • Start Date: 20140601
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150731
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39757

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01565932
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: University Transportation Research Center
  • Contract Numbers: 49997-47-25
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 5 2015 1:00AM