Defend Houston Harbor from Natural Disasters

Written by han & summer

Natural disasters have always occurred on earth. Still, in this century, the Arctic Sea ice and atmospheric environment change due to global warming significantly influence the frequency, period, and intensity of natural disasters. Currently, the global supply chain is reaching its limit due to the spread of the COVID virus and natural disasters in each region. For example, heavy floods in China and Germany have put supply chains that have not recovered from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic at risk. In China, coal shipments in mining areas such as Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Shaanxi Province are declining, hindering power generation in the summer. In Germany, shipment delays increased by 15% from the previous week as road transport slowed significantly. In many parts of the world’s ports, congestion is forming at a level unseen in decades.

Despite such adversity, the Port of Houston has emerged as the number one port in the United States, according to new data released by U.S. government agencies on November 23rd. Therefore, the Houston government has installed the 38th National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) system to improve safe and efficient maritime navigation to prevent various port disasters and disaster damage. NOAA reduces the likelihood of marine accidents by providing information to make navigation safer and includes information to mitigate damage in the event of a spill.

“Precision navigation is critical to our nation’s data-driven blue economy and helps our environment,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “The real-time information tracked by NOAA allows ships to move safely within U.S. waterways to make operations more efficient and lower fuel consumption, lowering carbon emissions.”

In case of a natural disaster, confusion of evacuation of ships entering and leaving the port and collision accidents may occur, and the effect will be affected boats in operation. In the event of a natural disaster, the NOAA program will be used to evacuate ships, secure navigation, and prepare for the establishment of an effective collection system for drifting materials. “This new system, and the others like them around the country, reduce ship accidents by more than 50%, and allow for larger ships to get in and out of seaports and reduce traffic delays,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “PORTS can also provide real-time data as conditions rapidly change, giving our coastal communities time to prepare and respond.” In other words, it is possible to judge and prepare for changes and safety depending on factors such as temperature, wind, and currents in the port by preparing advance measures for natural disasters in major ports. Therefore, thanks to NOAA’s system, the Port of Houston is expected to take first place in terms of overseas cargo volume and total cargo volume and is expected to support economic recovery and growth as a significant industrial base in the post-coronavirus era.

It is no exaggeration to say that it is becoming a necessity, not a necessity, for port competitiveness. Houston’s NOAA program is just the beginning of technology adoption to improve maritime logistics productivity, efficiency, and safety. Following the unmanned automated port, all facilities and logistics equipment in the port should be digitally twined for efficient management through further progress, such as data-based and artificial intelligence (AI). If robots and artificial intelligence technologies are applied to ports, it is expected that the operational efficiency of the ports will increase significantly compared to the existing ones. In addition, IoT technology will enable information sharing between inland transportation means and ships, which are the primary means of transportation in ports. It will become the basis for realizing a shared information platform system. If these methods can be implemented, it is judged that a future port that can secure high quality and high safety along with the realization of a high-efficiency logistics system will be realized.





Jennie, L. (2022). The fastest-growing port in Texas just got even safer. National Oceanic and    Atmospheric Administration.

INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE. Facts + Statistics: Tornadoes and thunderstorms.

TODES & CURRENTS. PORTS® (Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System)

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