Trends in Container Terminal Infrastructure and Technology

Container ports are the center of the cargo distribution transportation hub and the most significant contributor to the US economy. Port cargo activity contributes roughly $4.8 trillion to the economy yearly (26 percent of US GDP), over 23 million jobs, and over $320 billion annually in federal, state, and local tax revenues (AAPA 2017a). An ocean carrier’s greatest asset is its ship and a port owner’s greatest asset is its infrastructure. These assets use technology because of its ability to enhance productivity, data analysis, and integration. How these assets are managed and interact is crucial to provide seamless movement of cargo through the supply chain to consumers. Trends and changes in one part of the chain have a cascading effect on the rest of the chain. The ability to understand and forecast these changes helps stabilize and reduce risk in the process. There is a growing gap between infrastructure development and technology. Ongoing growth in ship size requires an integrated approach to infrastructure development and technology to ensure technology advancement, infrastructure resiliency, terminal operations, and sustainability at future container terminals. As port planners, engineers, and scientists look forward, the continued growth in the use of containerized cargo, ever-increasing ship size, and need to modernize container terminals at US ports require a review of the evolution of container terminals, current and future trends, and needed investments. This article provides insight into future infrastructure development and technology needs based on these factors and suggests steps to maintain resilient port systems.


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  • Accession Number: 01685503
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 11 2018 12:34PM