Risk management handbook


Windstorm II: practical risk management guidance for marine & inland terminals

Storm damage accounts for some of the biggest losses in the marine and inland terminal industry. The Club has produced a substantially revised risk management guide to assist operators manage the risk and prevent losses relating to wind storms. In this guide, the Club has brought together the shared knowledge and experience of operators and experts in managing storm damage, in collaboration with the International Safety Panel of ICHCA International.



Destructive windstorms have always wreaked havoc in many parts of the world. Whether attributed to climate change or better global communications, there is far greater awareness of damage to the
environment, property and loss of life due to severe windstorms, not just in the tropical cyclone areas. Although the empirical evidence may not support it, there is certainly the perception that the number and severity of storms is progressively increasing. Moreover, there is concern that places previously largely unaffected by severe storms – or only irregularly – may suffer in future. Further, it is sobering that in the period 1980-2005 windstorms made up 42% of all natural catastrophes.

The economic cost attached to windstorms is enormous. Munich Re figures for 2008 attribute a total cost of US$72 billion worldwide to such events. Added to this there was a further US$18 billion attributed
to floods. In the period 1950-2008 the total economic cost attributed to US tropical cyclones is stated as US$453 billion. In any perception, these are significant figures; it is critical for any operation to recognise that only a portion of these amounts will have been insured. By way of example in the extreme year of 2005, of the windstorm economic loss of US$185 billion, less than 50% (US$90 billion) was insured.

Because of their coastal location, ports, harbours and terminal installations are all heavily exposed to the risk of damage caused by high winds. This booklet considers the ways operators can make preparations that reduce these risks and thus protect their businesses. These recommendations are, however, equally valid for terminals located inland; perhaps more so, since there may be a lower expectation of a
severe occurrence.

This booklet is not just about hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons. While many people may associate severe windstorms with these devastating occurrences in sub-tropical areas, gales, severe storms and sudden winds called squalls or microbursts with winds gusting up to hurricane strength (Beaufort force 12 or 32.7 m/s) also occur and cause damage in more northerly or southerly latitudes, particularly during winter months. Please therefore do not think that, because you are not operating in an area of
tropical storms, this booklet is not for you: the advice it contains is as much valid if your facility is located at 55° N as if it is at 10° N.

A fundamental business consideration, applicable to all threats to the company, whether from fire, flooding, hazardous materials spillage or loss of power, is the creation of an emergency plan. The emergency plan should be based on a careful review of the threats to your business and include specific steps to minimise them. By looking at the risks encountered at any major terminal, this booklet gives guidance on the creation and operation of such plans. While an emergency plan will help reduce the risk of damage to your operations, windstorms are often unpredictable in their speed, strength and track. What might appear to be a storm that will safely pass a hundred kilometres or so away, may change
course during the night and devastate your facility. It could even result in the storm’s eye passing across the port – a case study on ‘Hugo’ is included of such an occurrence and the outcome. While hopefully none of this will happen, an entire chapter is devoted to the formulation of disaster recovery plans.

An emergency plan is also just that: something to be kept in reserve (but up-to-date) to be used when an emergency threatens. However there is often very little time to implement the plan in full. Simple good housekeeping practices round the clock and throughout the year can do much to reduce the volume of work that has to be done in that short period. Keeping container stacks no more than four high means that you do not have to devote personnel and equipment to an emergency program to remove high tiers as the wind increases in strength. Maintaining service and park brake systems and always locking down
cranes when they are not being used guards against them being blown along the track in the event of sudden and unexpected squalls. Even keeping storm pin sockets clear and free of debris can help. Having a back-up computer facility off-site can protect the company’s vital records. This booklet highlights many of these issues.

Each facility’s situation will be individual and specific. Because you have not yet suffered a storm does not mean that you never will; nor should the fact that they have happened in the past necessarily mean that you are properly prepared for a future storm.

The main recommendations in this booklet are based on the general experience gained in storms affecting terminals and other facilities, but no publication of this kind can be comprehensive in the advice it offers. Every storm presents its own unique risk profile and therefore no hazard can be entirely eliminated. Hopefully this guide will play some part in helping you to be prepared.

This booklet is not intended to be a technical manual relating to windstorm preparation. Every port and every terminal has its own characteristics. The risk profile of any facility depends on factors such as design, construction, layout, location, the type and amount of equipment, the prevalence of windstorms and the wind speeds normally encountered. You should therefore consider consulting engineers with
specialist knowledge of your handling equipment and possibly also the civil engineers responsible for constructing your facility to ensure that you have the best possible advice relating to your own particular


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Staff Author

TT Club