Evaluating Capacity Options for the North American West Coast Container Ports
As global trade continues to recover from the recent economic recession, US container port congestion experienced in the last decade will likely re-emerge. Yet there is limited research that examines network-wide port capacity in support of solutions for minimizing such congestion. To address this gap, we simulate the US West Coast container port network, quantifying the costs and benefits of different options to better utilize current port capacity across the entire network. We specifically assess both efficiency improvement and operational coordination options on historical and future container volumes. The results demonstrate the strength of efficiency as a means to alleviate future port congestion. However, the results also portray inequitable savings across different stakeholders as well as difficulty among these stakeholders in perceiving actual benefits. We discuss the impacts of these challenges on implementation of the capacity utilization options.
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