24 November 2010
Adapting our ports to a changing climate
The research will help "climate-proof" seaports across Australia. Image courtesy Port of Melbourne Corporation.
Associate Professor Darryn McEvoy will lead the project.
A multi-disciplinary team of RMIT University researchers will collaborate with industry and government bodies across Australia on a project to help "climate-proof" the nation's seaports.
The team has been awarded a $578,000 grant from the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) to conduct cutting-edge research into enhancing the resilience of seaports to a changing climate.
Lead investigator, Associate Professor Darryn McEvoy, said the project aimed to better understand the structural and functional vulnerability of critical seaport infrastructure and the options that were available to enable adaptation to future change.
"With Melbourne's ports anticipating a quadrupling of activity by 2035 and an associated investment in infrastructure, a major scientific challenge will be ensuring that new and existing infrastructure is adequately 'climate-proofed' for future conditions," Associate Professor McEvoy, Innovation Professor and Leader of the Climate Change Adaptation Program in RMIT's Global Cities Research Institute, said.
"Drawing together different skill sets from across the University and pushing beyond the boundaries of discipline is a hallmark of RMIT's approach to addressing the major challenges of a rapidly changing world.
"Our close engagement with a range of policy and industry partners will ensure that the practical research solutions developed through this project reflect their needs and concerns, as well as those of the wider community."
The research team comprises academics from the Climate Change Adaptation Program (Associate Professor McEvoy and Dr Jane Mullett); the School of Civil, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering (Associate Professor Sujeeva Setunge, Dr Tom Molyneaux and Dr Kevin Zhang); and the School of Business, IT and Logistics (Professor Brian Corbitt, Professor Nilmini Wickramasinghe, Dr Prem Chhetri, Dr Victor Gekara). Also collaborating on the project is Dr Jonathan Corcoran from the University of Queensland.
During the 21-month project, researchers will work closely with a wide range of stakeholders including Ports Australia, Port of Hastings Corporation, South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCA), Mornington Peninsula Shire, the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council, the National Transport Commission, the Victorian Department of Transport, the Maritime Union of Australia, and Shipping Australia.
The project will foster opportunities for international engagement with other major ports such as London, Rotterdam and New York through the development of a new "port cities" network.
As part of those efforts, Associate Professor McEvoy recently met Port of Rotterdam officials and presented at Rotterdam's Delta Cities conference.
With contributions from RMIT and the University of Queensland, as well as industry partners, the total funding for the project is $648,000.