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Port Expansion, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 699

Research Paper

How older ports like Baltimore and Philadelphia with limited real estate available for expansion can compete with larger ports?

Baltimore was and remains as best as it can – a port town, and with its inner harbor, retain a rotating cast of seven vessels on a permanent basis, moving from a Coast Guard Cutter to a World War 11 submarine to a Civil War –Sloop-of war, according to Scrubbs (2011).  However, the Clipper City, which was among the best in the world in the 19th century, is the same as a Port Philadelphia 100 miles to the north; just active feeding ports that are in danger of becoming obsolete, in light of global developments and trends in the 21st century.

This position made these US ports as well as several others in a similar predicament in danger of becoming very unprofitable and efficient , in the face of ongoing worldwide expansions, economic developments and increasing cargo flows, in that they have to constantly compete with globalization, increasing consumer demands, and changing economies of scale, which are the drivers of  the container shipping and related container terminal operations and land transportation facilities (Rijsenbri, 1979).

In light of trends like 5% -7% increase in shipping volumes, these ports need to pursue strategies like attracting new alliances, forming mergers, and seek private financing so that they will be able to become part of the increasing number of shipping lines that are now dedicating their facilities to specialization in marine terminals, intermodal terminals, and inland depots (Rijsenbri, 1979).

This strategic development al approach will facilitate the attracting of greater commercial interests, as a result of the improvement in operating conditions especially in receivables and deliveries, gate handlings, inspections, and documentations (Elgar, 2008).  Additionally, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other ports would be able to increase their economies of scales, as a result of greater capability and focus on information exchange and process control, and increasing their throughput through service performances, which will involve handling even larger transport vehicles with greater frequencies.

These ports can also overcome their limited real estate constraints by turning to rail transport and double as well as triple stacking of trains to improve handling capacity.  However, this would only be possible through the acquisition of second trolley systems as the ECT Rotterdam installed in 1979, and was able to achieve quantum leap in its productivity.  This equipment has unique engineering features which include height adjustable main girder, and capability to handle separate waterside and landside operations while embracing a buffer in between for SATL handling and smoothing stochastic (Elgar, 2008).

The shortage of real estate in their immediate environment should not be a deterrent to US ports like Baltimore and Philadelphia, in that they can engage in landside operations outside of their limited zones, and still be able to meet the challenges of truckers turnaround times and the maintenance of schedules form barges and trains as well as rising transportation costs.

Investment in Train Shuttle every hour on the hour would be ideally dove tail with these ports drive to achieve quantum leaps in productivity, engineered by the purchase of privately financed second tier trolleys systems, as the former investment enables fix sets of wagons ,with minimal loading requirements, to be moved between inland destinations , and would reduce the dwelling times of  hundreds of ships making ports of call, as well as provide returns on investments for shareholders through this highly efficient rail services.

However, despite  the fact that development and expansions for these ports will take place on phased basis, the deployment of these strategies and tactics to meet emerging global trends and challenge, will better position them to become more competitive as well as sustainable.  Additionally, the revenues earned in the process, will also propel them towards greater efficiency levels, which will include embracing more cost and service driven strategies that should definitely involve the use robotics as well as the purchase and application of cutting edge information processing software for all operational areas.

Reference

Scrubbs, G. (2011).The Inner Harbor: What the World can learn from Baltimore www.bmoremedia.com/features/innerharborlessonsforthe world020811.aspx , 03/09/12

Elgar, E. (2008).  Future of Intermodal Freight Transport, Operations, Design, and Policy Northampton, MA

Rijsenbri, J.C. (1979).  Terminal Productivity: A Variety of Factors National Academy Press Washington DC

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