A whole-system approach

In an increasingly complex and uncertain world, port resilience is essential to business continuity, but also to the critical infrastructure systems that ports connect. Port cities need resilient, low carbon gateways to prosper.

Launched in July 2020, Resilience4Ports is a multi-stakeholder, whole-systems approach to enhance the resilience of ports, as a nexus of critical infrastructure systems.

Resilience4Ports explores resilience through key drivers – including decarbonisation, technology and climate change – that are affecting global supply chains today and will continue to affect the entire maritime shipping industry in the future.

Over two distinct phases, Resilience4Ports is bringing together the value chain of ports – from financers to operators and policy makers to shippers – to develop a programme of resilience enhancements. This programme will aim to influence policy, shape practice and share learning.

Diagram of a working port

Communities globally depend on resilient, low carbon ports to prosper. With our partners, we are exploring opportunities for resilient, system-wide, transformation through the lenses of decarbonisation, technology and port cities.

Exploring resilience through change

Disruptors present both opportunities for improving resilience of port systems and the risk of new vulnerabilities. By exploring resilience enhancements through key disruptive lenses, we can encourage an holistic approach to change that enables positive outcomes for society and the environment – as well as business.


Capitalising on low carbon investments, managing changing trade dynamics and accelerating city decarbonisation.

Technological change

The future of shipping, Industry 4.0 and global supply chains, cyber crime, smart ports. Facilitating innovation whilst limiting new vulnerabilities.


Port communities and the environment

Creating good jobs, improving health outcomes, enhancing the coastal environment and preparing for a changing climate.

Our approach

  • We have adopted a rigorous, evidence-based collaborative, multi-stakeholder methodology to define the port system and its interdependencies, and consider resilience challenges and enhancements.
  • Throughout phase one the Resilience4Ports project convened workshops, undertook research, and worked with sector-experts to achieve this.
  • Our focus is on action-planning, ensuring that actions are robust, and have the collective support of public and private stakeholders building on the valuable work developed by existing port sustainability initiatives.

Stage 1 – Scoping Study. In July 2020, we started our scoping study, the outcome of which was published in March 2021. The report identified the main drivers of change impacting ports, the findings from the stakeholder workshops and recommended actions to enhance the resilience of ports.

Stage 2 – Global initiative. The key outcome from the scoping study will be the creation framework for an ambitious, multi-year, multi-partner initiative. We want to frame an approach, and the relevant partnerships, that will align resilience goals across stakeholders and allow collaborative actions, from policy to implementation, to achieve these.

Partners and engagement

The Resilience Shift is working closely with sector experts from our two founding partners Arup and the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, as well as Lloyd’s Register Group who are highly influential in the port and shipping sector.

In addition, are engaging with the value chain of ports - from financiers to operators and policy makers to shippers - to shape cross-cutting actions of relevance to the whole life of infrastructure.

Prospective outcomes

To enhance the resilience of global supply chains, we seek to:

  • Build resilience across the value chain by bringing stakeholders and a community of practitioners together
  • Create a global beacon of whole systems thinking as a model of ‘what good looks like’ for building resilience within other complex, integrated critical infrastructure systems
  • Produce outputs that allow action that all major stakeholders need to undertake to build resilience across the ports value chain.

Project leaders

Mark Button
Project leader

Mark is a Maritime Engineer for Arup based in London, leading the design of coastal and port projects, with experience working in UK, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Amy Leitch
Head of Partnerships

Amy focuses on the strategic and policy aspects of sustainable and resilience planning within the built environment. She works collaboratively with clients and partners to deliver innovative, technically robust solutions.


Useful posts from our blog archive

Innovate4Cities: Session round-up

The Resilience Shift and our strategic partners, Resilience First and the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI), were excited to present a number of sessions at the conference, covering a range of topics relevant to resilience in urban infrastructure. Recordings of each session are available to stream now.

Embrace ports resilience to advance decarbonisation, says new Resilience Shift report

The multiple drivers of change currently facing ports require a whole-systems approach before low-carbon, resilient ports transformations can be realised says a new report from The Resilience Shift. “This is the right time to catalyse the urgent action that needs to be taken by the whole ports-value chain to transform ports into low-carbon, resilient gateways”. 

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The global supply of food is an incredibly complex system, involving multiple actors and a diverse value chain from production through to consumption.  Every part of the chain is dependent on infrastructure systems. We share six principles for enhancing the resilience of food transportation systems from our contribution to Cereal Foods World.