After the storms: Research on How to Improve Marine Transportation System Resilience after the 2017 Hurricane Season

Storm tracks from the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

A 2018 report from the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) gathered recommendations and ‘lessons learned’ from the 2017 hurricane season on how to improve resiliency across the marine transportation system. The report notes that “over the course of the 2017 hurricane season, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria affected the operating status of at least 45 ports throughout the lower continental United States and the U.S. Caribbean territories. These ports provide critical services to regional economies in the Gulf of Mexico, Southeastern coast, and the Caribbean, and were confronted with a succession of major storms that impacts a massive geographical region with unique challenges… The scale and impact of these storms strained the U.S. emergency response community and the ability of MTS agencies to preposition and prioritize recovery efforts.”

This report relied on both expert comments and data gathered before, during, and after the hurricane season. Estimates of the impacts discussed on this report utilized a variety of data sets across trade and transportation sectors. These data sets including statistics on trade patterns and commodity tonnage from previous years; records of port advisory and closure status; historic vessel position reports; and storm-related characteristics such as date, location, and wind speed.

Links to the report:
CMTS Press Release at
Download the PDF “The 2017 Hurricane Season: Recommendations for a Resilient Path Forward for the Marine Transportation System” at

Select data sources cited in the report:
Pérez, M.C., A.D. Marrero, L.A. Rivera. (2017). “External Trade Statistics Puerto Rico 2016”, Government of Puerto Rico, Office of the Governor Planning Board.

U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2016): “Describing the Ocean Economies of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico”, accessed July 2018.

U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Centers for Environmental Information: “U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview” 2018.

Marin Kress, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center
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