While weather-related losses are nothing new to the marine insurance industry, climate change has emerged as a new threat that could potentially cost the industry millions.

“Climate change is one of the most important risks facing the marine insurance industry today,” says Dave Keeling, chief operating officer at Santam’s Associated Marine.

“As ambient temperatures rise all over the world, the increasing incidence of extreme weather events associated with climate change has become a global concern, posing challenges to logistics and shipping companies,” he told FTW.

Keeling says South Africa, especially Cape Town, typically experiences severe winds from time to time, resulting in shipping delays. Last year saw several incidents of container losses as a result of extreme weather.

In December 2014, empty containers were toppled by strong winds in the container terminal in Durban harbour, which resulted in delays to shipping schedules. Another incident took place in Port Elizabeth in November last year when a container ship lost 23 large containers in strong winds, many of which were not recovered.