Document Type


Date of Original Version



Marine Affairs


Decision-making barriers challenge port administrators to adapt and build resilience to natural hazards. Heavy rains, storms, sea level rise (SLR), and extreme heat can damage the critical coastal infrastructure upon which coastal communities depend. There is limited understanding of what impedes port decision makers from investing resources in climate and extreme weather adaptations. Through semi-structured interviews of 30 port directors/managers, environmental specialists, and safety planners at 15 medium- and high-use ports of the U.S. North Atlantic, this paper contributes a typology of seven key adaptation barriers. We measured shared knowledge of the identified barriers using a cultural consensus model (CCM). Knowledge of the barriers that prevent or delay resilience investments can help the decision makers direct their resources to help reduce coastal vulnerability and support safe and sustainable operations of U.S. ports. Such actions also serve to help prepare the marine transportation system for future climate and extreme weather events.