An efficient and robust freight transportation system is essential to the continued economic well-being of the United States. One vital segment of the system is the deep-water ocean port, which, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration, handled 25 million loaded import or export containers in 2009. Both the highway and rail systems at deep-water ocean ports are congested in peak periods, as few were designed to handle current container volumes, much less future growth. Various projections show a doubling of containers by 2030, and this has led to a call for more freight infrastructure capacity. However, port expansion and cargo growth depends, to a large degree, on community acceptance, which in turn depends on reducing current adverse impacts from container transportation and mitigating future impacts.
As a result, communities around the ports have called for alternative ways to move containers, especially ways that are perceived to be more environmentally friendly than diesel, or approaches that lessen highway congestion by separating freight transport from passenger transport. However, many have questioned whether some of the proposed alternatives are technically feasible, and if so, can they serve multi-site networks and mesh with the legacy port, highway, and rail operations?
Research is needed to develop an objective methodology that compares the various alternatives to transport ocean containers to and from port terminals that is unbiased, provides equitable benefit/cost measurement factors (including port efficiency), and considers the entire container drayage scenario, from or to an inland location up to 100 miles distant from the deep-water ocean port.
The objective of this research is to develop a systematic methodology that can be used to evaluate alternatives for ocean container transport to or from deep-water ocean ports and inland destinations within 100 miles.
For more information: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=2922