How do seaports value resilience assessments? Decision making, capacity building, and implementation

Calls for resilience assessments are commonplace in discourses about maritime transportation and commerce due to increasing recognition of seaports’ vulnerabilities to natural hazards (e.g., sea level rise and storms). Yet, the question of how resilience assessments impact seaport planning and decision-making processes is not well understood. This research will assess the value of the process and outcomes of resilience-related studies for U.S. seaports. Investigators will interview seaport staff involved in resilience planning efforts – for example, seaport director/managers, safety planners, and environmental specialists.  Findings will elucidate: (1) how stakeholders value the key aspects of the resilience assessment process for decision making; (2) the types of resilience enhancement strategies that seaports typically pursue after engaging in a resilience assessment process; and (3) the role such assessments play in building seaport adaptive capacity.


Insights from this study will guide the development of the Resilience Assessment Guide for Ports and the Marine Transportation System developed in partnership by the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The overall intent of this research is to identify the benefits and limitations of resilience assessments for seaports, as this knowledge will improve guidance materials that are designed to help seaports undertake their resilience endeavors by highlighting lessons learned and best management practices.


Project Team

Principal Investigator: Prof. Austin Becker, URI Department of Marine Affairs

Research Assistant: Ellis Kalaidjian, URI Department of Marine Affairs

Contact: or 401-874-4192


This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Grant Award Number 2015-ST-061-ND0001-01. The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S Department of Homeland Security.