Climate change is disrupting the world’s major shipping lanes including the Suez and Panama Canals, says a new report from global broker Marsh and climate analysis firm Cross Dependency Initiative (CDI). The report further says that a rise in coastal inundation and increased heat is the main reason for climate change that will create a significant impact on the waterways that are the backbone of global trade. For the report, the Suez Canal was taken as a case study. It showcased the risks occurring at four ports and along the canal waterways in 2020, 2050, and 2100 in accordance with the global average temperature increase of 3.7 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The report on the Suez Canal model mentions that the container port in the north has the maximum exposure to physical climate-related risks and it might witness a double between 2020 and 2100 that is affected by coastal inundation. The other three ports are also impacted, but the risk varies to infrastructure and port operations, including the loading of cargo. The report also signifies the extreme wind and heat events that will maximize to double by 2050 from what it is today and increase seven-fold by 2100. All these changes can result in high temperatures with change in sea salinity and density and influences the engine cooling on ships.
Egypt’s coastal shoreline and the Nile Delta are specifically at risk from the increased sea level, while the country is also going to witness an increase in desertification and drought with an increase in the intensity and frequency of sandstorms and dust storms.
The report suggests various physical measures to mitigate the risk including raising or widening the canal. All these measures could be provided by the government or through co-sponsorship that is issued by the state-owned Suez Canal authority.