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Short Sea Shipping Essay

2764 words - 12 pages

Garrett Weston Weston 1
Dr. Donna Nincic
GMA 105
October 25, 2011
Short Sea Shipping
As roads become more congested and trade increases, United States’ ports and businesses begin to look for alternative forms of transportation in order to move cargo off of the roads and onto the water. One solution to this issue is the implication of Short Sea Shipping. Short Sea Shipping is the act of shipping intercontinentally, using waterways such as rivers and inlets to transport people and goods from one destination to another without crossing over oceans. An example of this would be using the Mississippi River as a trade route to transport goods from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Though ...view middle of the document...

Specific opportunities in Southern California are found with the re-directing of empty container flows to secondary ports. The use of Roll-On/Roll-Off vessels would be best suited for this type of port operation (Le-Griffin 2006). Roll-On/Roll-Off vessels are ships that have built-in ramps that allow the cargo to be efficiently "rolled on" and "rolled off" of the vessel when in port. Due to the abundance of rivers and inland waterways along the East and Gulf coasts, these would be more likely locations for Short Sea Shipping transportation in the United States. The Intracoastal Waterway is a three-thousand mile long system of rivers, inlets, bays, and canals that run along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts that could be used for Short Sea Shipping. This system of waterways provides a navigable route from New Jersey to Brownsville, Texas without many of the hazards of travel on the open sea (Sullivan 2005). The Intracoastal Waterway has a large amount of commercial activity: barges haul petroleum, petroleum products, food, perishable items, building materials, and manufactured goods. The waterway is often used when the ocean is too rough to travel on. The numerous inland waterways that connect the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico with the Intracoastal Waterway make this the most feasible route for Short Sea Shipping in the United States.
United States’ domestic freight volume is projected to increase more than sixty-five percent from 1998 to 2020 and international freight levels are expected to rise even more rapidly (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). At this rate, the cost of putting off the restoration of the United States’ aging transportation and shipping infrastructure could be extremely detrimental to our economy. Efficient transportation networks are key elements for economic growth, and the financial benefits of moving our
Weston 3
shipping to sea-based transportation are aplenty. Ships are the most energy efficient mode of transportation, in contrast to trucks, which are the least efficient. A single four-thousand Dead-Weight-Ton vessel can accommodate as much cargo as one-hundred to two-hundred semi-trucks (Nincic 2011). This can be translated as a significant savings in time and a savings in fuel costs for shipping companies.
The Maritime Administration (2002 MARAD) estimates that two-hundred and twenty-eight double-stacked rail cars which consume three-hundred barrels of oil, and four-hundred and fifty-six trucks which consume six-hundred and forty-five barrels of oil are needed to transport the equivalent capacity of cargo as one traditional barge that consumes seventy-five barrels of oil. This fuel efficiency makes Short Sea Shipping much more desirable to companies because of the reduced fuel cost. However, some may argue that Short Sea Shipping is, in fact, less efficient because of the longer transit times. It should be noted that Short Sea Shipping becomes an increasingly attractive option as transportation distances increase. This...

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