According to an analysis by catastrophe risk modelling company RM, six of the top ten riskiest ports are located in the U.S.
The ranking is based on a 500- years estimated catastrophe loss for earthquake, the wind, and storm surge perils, showing that the two riskiest port are Japan’s Nagoya, with an estimated marine cargo loss of US$ 2.3bn, and China´s Guangzhou with a loss of US$ 2 bn.
The list also included two European ports. Bremerhaven (Germany) at fourth place with an estimated cargo loss of US$1bn, and Le Havre (France) ranking last with an estimated loss of US$0.7 bn.
Among the US riskiest ports are New Orleans (5th place) and Houston (9th place) with estimated cargo losses of US$1bn and US$0.8bn respectively.
The findings published by RM are expected to cause concern among marine insurers and reinsurers, and the results were published to coincide with the first anniversary of Tianjin Port disaster, which causes losses of more than US$3bn.
According to the company, the size of the container facilities is just one of the characteristics of high-risk ports, but other conditions may affect, such as the type of cargo handled and natural hazards.
Chris Folkman, director of Product Management at RMS, said in a statement: “Surprisingly, a port’s size and its catastrophe loss potential are not strongly correlated. For example, while China may be king for the volume of container traffic, our study found that many smaller U.S. ports rank more highly for risk — largely due to hurricanes.”
The expert says that the use of data is vital to determine catastrophe risks and port accumulations: “outdated techniques and incomplete data have obscured many high-risk locations,” added Folkman.
RMS also highlighted the risks that bring the increasing size of ships and increasing capabilities of ports and store facilities:
“Larger vessels have rendered many river ports inaccessible forcing shippers to rely on seaside ports, which are more vulnerable to hurricanes, typhoons, and storm surge,” the statement read. “Furthermore, many ports are built on landfill, amplifying their vulnerability to earthquake risk.”
Folkman concluded that the value of global catastrophe-exposed cargo is “huge” and is expected to continue to grow. “Better data and modelling will enable more effective portfolio management and underwriting for this dynamic line of business.”