Academic journal article Management Review : An International Journal

Simulation of Port Disruption and Transportation Resources for U.S. Containerized Imports

Academic journal article Management Review : An International Journal

Simulation of Port Disruption and Transportation Resources for U.S. Containerized Imports

Article excerpt


This paper investigates the feasible paths before and during port disruptions on the West Coast of the United States using discrete-event simulation. A discrete-event simulation application experiments with different regulations, disruptions, and infrastructure changes to show future dynamics by investment and planning events for operational decisions. The simulation conducts partially and fully disrupted scenarios comparing to the current operations. The output from the simulation highlights the significance of the impact from a long-term disruption, while the short-term disruption in the supply chain would need resilience with a quick response time to allow the system to recover. The long-term disruption scenario recommendation is to immediately divert the flow to the neighboring infrastructure, which has similar and excess capacity. The short-term disruption scenario requires a decision-making process based on the diversion time and cost, and the search process required for finding the neighboring ports and landside resources that are capable to handle the extra freights. Thus, the partially disrupted scenario does not recommend diverting to other neighboring infrastructure. Supply chain planners will benefit from the study as it contributes to finding alternative solutions and diversified strategies for the U.S. container markets through fully developed intermodal services.

Keywords: Port disruption, Container, Simulation, Transportation, Security

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)


Since the first journey of container cargoes in 1956 in the United States, the growth rate of containerization has been boosted by growing international trade, changing polices, and emerging technologies. The average growth rate of the U.S. waterborne container trade by weight was approximately 7.35% for seven consecutive years (2002-2008), while the growth rate of the overall U.S. waterborne trade for all categories was 2.44 % until U.S. economic recession forced a reduction in the growth rate in 2008. The containerized cargoes have been transported through the railroad and interstate highway networks that are connected to seaports and massive container ports have been built along the deep coastlines to accommodate even larger container vessels (Panayides, 2006).

The transportation infrastructure in the United States for intermodal transportation systems is quite vulnerable; issues exist in security and safety as well as capacity of infrastructure and social or environments issues in port cities (NSTPRSC, 2007; Global Insights, 2007). For example, protection from terrorism is one of the greatest concerns for homeland security personnel (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2007). Terrorists might smuggle weapons of mass destruction (WMD), such as chemical materials, bio-hazardous materials, and nuclear weapons via container shipping. Thus, the containers destined for U.S. seaports are screened, inspected, monitored, and traced in accordance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2001 and the Container Security Initiatives (CSI) of 2002 with the collaboration of 58 foreign container ports as of 2010. The logistician's security concerns are met with another challenge: screening all the containers shipped through U.S. ports without retarding the logistics flow. For example, 17 million containers were shipped through 70 container ports in 2008 in the United States (U.S. Department of Transportation, 2010). Logistics and security must be closely linked in order to maintain a safe and efficient flow of containers.

In addition to the security of the freight flow, most studies focus on the integration and expansion of the transportation infrastructure in the United States. In the meantime, the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert on Canada's west coast, the ports of Halifax and Montreal on Canada's east coast, and the Lazaro Cardenas port on Mexico's west coast promote their ports to attract shippers and carriers; these ports also look for customers to increase utilization of their facilities (Global Insights, 2007; Maloni and Paul, 2013). …

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