On 29 March, SMIT Salvage and Boskalis successfully refloated the Ever Given in a challenging operation conducted under the watchful eye of the world. For nearly a week, the colossal container ship blocked the Suez Canal halting billions of dollars a day in maritime commerce. Around 12% of global trade passes through the 120-mile waterway, which provides the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.
The socio-economic impact of the incident was immense. The unprecedented shutdown of one of the world’s most vital trade routes led to raising concerns over extended delays, goods shortages and rising costs for consumers. Goods like food, fuel, vital medical equipment and PPE were caught in a backlog of more than 420 vessels waiting to enter the canal. All of which added strain on the shipping industry already under pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The incident cast a spotlight on the importance of global shipping to daily life and the delicate nature of the global supply chain it underpins.
As the world continues to battle the crisis, there is an opportunity for nature-based solutions to support postpandemic recovery efforts. The World Bank is making an estimated US$ 1 billion in annual investments in projects applying nature-based solutions. At IADC, we’re working on a joint report to explore the role that investors can play in sustainable waterborne infrastructure projects. From a societal point of view, there is no alternative to green infrastructure if we want to tackle the challenges of climate adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity decline. From a financial point of view, investors are increasingly conscious of, and concerned about, the predictability of the future value of their assets.
The World Bank’s approach to using natural infrastructure solutions to address climate change challenges shares a synergy with Engineering With Nature’s approach of using nature-based solutions. Dr Todd Bridges, National Lead for the Engineering With Nature® initiative for the past 10 years, talks about the opportunity of incorporating nature into engineering in a more tangible and substantive way in the interview on page 18.
In April and May, IADC organised two webinars as part of the ‘Meet the Expert’ series. Each webinar invited an expert(s) from the dredging sector to speak on a particular topic and focused on a high-profile dredging project. To register for forthcoming events in the series as well as view past webinars on demand, visit https://www.iadc-dredging.com/webinars.
Also in this issue, articles on a pioneering coastal management approach that induces a self-sustaining stabilisation of the foreshore, as well as a study into the adhesion factor of clay.