Billions in potential marine insurance losses as RMS ranks the top 10 riskiest ports

By Erin Ayers on August 16, 2016

On the one-year anniversary of the Tianjin Port explosion, ranked as one the highest insured losses in history, catastrophe modeling firm RMS evaluated potential losses at other world ports to aid insurers in their “guessing game” of where disaster could next strike and to what degree.

RMS’ marine risk experts calculated the 1 in 500 year loss probability for ports in nearly 80 countries, looking at cargo type, storage location (near the water or further inland), type of storage (warehouses, containers, etc.), and how long cargo remains in port (which can vary based on automation, labor, and whether goods are imported or exported). RMS noted, for example, that although container shipping has improved the global economy, it increases catastrophic risk exposure due to larger ships.

RMS found that the two riskiest ports are in Japan; six are in the United States, and the final two in Europe. Smaller ports in the US posed higher risks than many other larger ports due to the type of cargo and natural hazards affecting Louisiana and Mississippi. Similarly, Bremerhaven in Germany featured higher risk than other, bigger container shipping ports.'

Erin is an editor at Advisen. She has 15 years of journalism experience. Prior to Advisen, Erin covered property-casualty insurance for 13 years as editor-in-chief of The Standard, New England’s Insurance Weekly. Erin is based in Boston, Mass. Contact Erin at