Public-Private Approach to Port Resiliency in the Americas

April 27, 2012

By: Dr. Teo A. Babun, Jr., AmericasRelief Team

Disasters impact port operations, disrupting the supply chain of goods and services and making it difficult to respond to humanitarian needs and economic recovery. Recent catastrophic experiences, such as the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, continue to remind us that ports are crucial lifelines to vulnerable populations during disasters. 

Disasters add many layers of complexity to any operation. They bring into play the humanitarian relief supply chain coordination, stress personnel readiness and affect the safety of their families, and place additional tension on many of the port functions such as: terminal operations, delivery areas, communications, information systems, security, process control and coordination centers, customs and border control, etc.

An accelerated port restoration plan during a catastrophic event that damages a port would be of tremendous benefit in fostering disaster resilience in the region.

AmericasRelief Team’s Port Resiliency Program (PREP) is designed to improve the disaster readiness of air and sea ports in the Latin America and Caribbean region. It will facilitate the swift revitalization of the logistics supply chain, thereby stabilizing economies and saving lives.  The project seeks to apply best practices and lessons learned from recent disasters to assist regional ports in advancing their continuity of operations. PREP will promote capacity building, implement resiliency assessment and planning activities, and provide post-disaster technical and commodities support.   It is based on the creation, development, and dissemination of disaster mitigation best practice standard operating procedures and training. 

With the help of BCLC member FedEx, two demonstration projects are in progress.  As part of the first phase implementation in the Dominican Republic’s Las Americas Airport, an assessment team is conducting the initial on-site screening and review of the airport’s current practices. In Puerto Rico’s San Juan Sea Port, a humanitarian & personnel assessment will be taking place as part of a working team with U.S. Homeland Security.

Program partners are Louisiana State University Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, and Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA).  Besides FedEx, current program supporters includeU.S. Southern Command, U.S. Department of Commerce, American Airlines, Port of Miami, Laparkan Logistics, Miami International Airport, and others.

For more information, comments or suggestions contact AmericasRelief Team, a registered program brand of Outreach Aid to the Americas, Inc. PO Box 546135 Miami, FL 33154, Tel. (305) 884-044, e-mail:;