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The Agile Port Essay

1504 words - 7 pages

LGT3003 - 11 The agile port BILL MONGELLUZZO. Journal of Commerce. New York: Dec 11, 2006. pg. 1 Abstract (Document Summary) A benefit of the agile port model is that it provides a terminal operator with the flexibility to move back and forth between an agile port and a traditional port operation. When a terminal operator has a close working relationship with a shipping line and railroad, the carriers provide destination information on each container so the terminal operator can build full trains that the railroad simply hooks and hauls from the terminal. Full Text (1357 words) (Copyright 2006 Commonwealth Business Media. All rights reserved.) Mike Lingerfelt, president of Washington United ...view middle of the document...

Blair Garcia, senior associate vice president of TranSystems in Norfolk, Va., reported to a conference presented by the center in Long Beach last month that the results indicate the agile port concept indeed has dual-use applications for commercial and military cargoes. Garcia views the agile port as the third step in the evolution of intermodal transportation dating back to the early days of containerization in the 1960s. Containerization revolutionized the former breakbulk ocean trades from Asia and Europe to the United

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States. Intermodal transportation took off in the 1980s with the double-stack train that allowed railroads to move 40 percent more cargo cross-country by stacking containers two-high in well cars. The missing link that will permit the two modes of transportation to coordinate the intermodal handoff is the sharing of vessel and train manifest data so that vessels can be stowed in the foreign port according to how they will move by rail to the inland destination in the U.S. In the traditional marine terminal model, intermodal containers that are removed from a vessel are taken to a place of rest where they may sit for up to a day. In the pure agile port model, the containers never touch cement, Garcia said. Containers move from the vessel to yard tractors and immediately to the on-dock train. Coordinating the activities of a vessel operator, marine terminal and railroad is a complex endeavor that requires sharing of data, detailed stowage of containers in Asia, a sophisticated marine terminal operation in the U.S. and communication with the railroad to ensure that trains are ready to receive the intermodal containers. The same level of coordination is required for the return move for the export of loaded or empty containers from the U.S. interior to Asia. In its purest form, the agile port concept also requires a vessel that is carrying mostly intermodal cargo. Tacoma was favored for the demonstration project because vessels regularly arrive from Asia with 70 percent or more of the cargo destined to move by rail to the eastern half of the country. Ships arriving at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, by contrast, have a 50-50 split of local and intermodal cargo because of the large consuming population in Southern California. The commercial application of the agile port project in Tacoma produced significant improvements in marine terminal operations, Garcia said. TranSystems estimates that under the right conditions, the terminal operator could realize up to a 300 percent increase in throughput capacity and an operating cost savings of up to 40 percent compared to a conventional terminal operation. Lingerfelt said an agile port is more efficient because it minimizes the rehandling of cargo, accelerates the movement of containers and reduces operational costs compared to the conventional method of shuffling containers to a stack and rehandling them several times before they are finally loaded aboard a train. The...

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