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Press release

Climate change reaches the ports Published on 27 September 2021

9th network meeting of the north-west ports addresses adaptation to climate change

How can we tackle the impact of climate change? This is a question that also concerns the ports and accordingly, Niedersachsen Ports and bremenports invited various actors to attend their ninth network meeting of the north-west ports. The central topic of the online event was “The ports put the spotlight on adaptation to climate change”.

Climate change, which also means changes in air and water temperatures, precipitation, ice coverage, water levels, wind forces, wind direction and sea state, has a direct impact on marine shipping and marine shipping routes.

In his introductory remarks, Robert Howe, Managing Director of bremenports, stressed that climate protection and adaptation to climate change are priority items on the port development agenda. He reported that the SHARC research project (Smart Harbour Application Renewable Integration Concept) conducted by bremenports and various partners, which was aimed at achieving a carbon-neutral port, had already performed valuable groundwork for the Überseehafen area. Current research topics also included various flood protection projects and participation in the German “Nordwest 2050” research project, which was investigating adaptation strategies in response to climate change.

Dr Birger Tinz from the German Meteorological Office presented some observations on climate change in the ‘North-West German Lowlands’ which serve as a model region. The data on temperature increase, summer and frost days, precipitation, storms and sea ice provides clear signals. The reduction in sea ice is already drastic and this trend will continue beyond 2050. It is not possible to predict the extent to which the ice sheets will melt. As a consequence of climate change, increasing incidences of heavy rainfall and drought phases are anticipated for Bremen and Lower Saxony.

Lena Lankenau of bremenports presented the findings of the “Port Climate” project which, in cooperation with Bremen University of Applied Science, is developing education and training modules on adaptation to climate change. These modules serve as a basis for drawing up a climate adaptation concept for the ports of Bremen involving highly diverse facilities and highly diverse actors, in accordance with the PIANC (The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure) guidelines. These guidelines define four stages for the development of a climate adaptation concept for ports: defining the problems and objectives, compiling climate information, identifying vulnerabilities and risks, and developing adaptation paths and options.

Stefan Wittig of the Senate Department for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility, Urban Development and Housing is responsible for implementation of the climate adaptation strategy in Bremen and Bremerhaven.This involves the use of climate analysis maps(Geo-Net) on heat, heavy rainfall, storm and wind for Hamburg and Bremerhaven. A cross-departmental working group on climate adaptation has also been set up.

The “BREsilient – climate-resilient future city Bremen” will continue until May 2023.

Rainer Müller from the Institute of Shipping and Logistics (ISL) informed the participants about the BREsilient I and II project, which addresses the direct and indirect impact of climate change on logistics. The aim is to strengthen the resilience of supply chains and draw up adaptation measures in factsheets for the ports, railway etc. On behalf of Niedersachsen Ports, Janis Habdank gave a paper on the EU-INTERREG NON-STOP project (New smart digital Operations Needed for a Sustainable Transition in Ports). This project aims to design a sustainable water and sediment management system for the port of Emden. Amongst other things, this involves hinterland drainage, because the port of Emden could become an even more important player in future if more water than before is discharged into the River Ems via the port. The increasing intake of freshwater from the hinterland can influence the hydroecology of the port and consequently impact on port maintenance. What effects generally have to be expected? What quantities of water would be involved? The collection of more data on these water systems, which will be collated and visualised in a digital monitoring system, will support process monitoring in future.

Holger Bruns Press officer

bremenports GmbH & Co. KG

+49 471 309 01-103
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