Comment of Harry Klenner (Presidente de la Asociación Chilena de Prácticos de Puerto):
Nowadays, apart from having to take measures to avoid contagion with the Covid-19, port pilots have to consider another factor that has become present on the planet and which, by the way, our country has not been unaware of. I am referring to climate change, which has seriously affected our coasts with its episodes of tidal waves and abnormal swells, which have increased significantly in recent times, going from 23 episodes in 2008 to 40 in 2019 and 24 so far this year, affecting port activity and therefore the services provided.
When these situations occur, the Maritime Authority is forced to restrict activities in the ports, so that they are carried out safely and within the parameters and criteria established in the respective manoeuvrability studies prepared by each dock or terminal, with the ultimate aim of avoiding accidents that may harm either personnel, vessels, port facilities or the environment and that may result in greater and sometimes irreparable losses.
These changes, which undoubtedly affect shipping planning, should be considered today by all those involved in the maritime port area, so that they can adapt their operations in a timely manner, in order to reduce the potential economic losses that in one way or another will affect them and thus also reduce their effect on the logistics chain, so important in these days of pandemic that we are living.
One way of reducing the effects of these changes, which are likely to become more frequent, and therefore reduce the risks in the manoeuvres carried out by pilots, is to improve the instruments for measuring meteorological and oceanographic parameters, in order to have more technical information in a timely manner to carry out a thorough and detailed analysis and prediction of the phenomena that are coming and to be able to adapt to port maritime planning sufficiently in advance; In addition, port infrastructure and sheltering works, such as those in developed countries, should be improved in order to reduce the effect of storm surges on docks and terminals.
Taking into account the future port development of the country, it is essential that in the planning and construction of new ports that are considered to be made on our coasts, climate change and its consequences on port operations and maneuvers must be considered as a relevant factor in their execution and the necessary resources must be allocated for their mitigation.