Positive and Negative) Contributing to Port Operations Essay

Pages: 5 (1725 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

¶ … positive and negative) contributing to port operations from a management/Ownership perspective.

From a management perspective, there are quite a few both positive and negative factors that contribute to port operations. Most recently, we have seen that economic conditions around the globe can contribute many negative factors of port management. With less ships moving and goods being produced, port managers are often put in the precarious position of having to re-structure or reorganize the labor and logistics concerns of the port, since less traffic usually means less revenue. Also, managers often times have to get creative in trying to come up with a solution where more work and productivity can emerge with fewer resources.

The labor concerns relative to port management often represent some interesting factors that contribute to port operation. Depending on the country's government and labor restrictions, managers and owners often have to work within the confines of particular labor laws (Rodrigue, Comtois, and Slack, 2009). This can make or break a port, as some countries are able to provide cheap labor and others are not. Ports that are located in regions that are less stable, geopolitically, than others, will also have some factors that contribute to the complexity of the managers or owners jobs.

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From the positive standpoint, as regions begin to grow economically from the activity at the ports, there are new and very lucrative business opportunities that can arise for port owners. Often owners can begin to create a transportation infrastructure around the port itself, if it is successful and busy enough to begin to generate economic activity outside of itself (Rodrigue, Comtois, and Slack, 2009). Many times, new ports located in regions where economic growth was stifled can begin to generate new growth and opportunities. As a port manager, it is important to recognize where new economic gains and logistics advantages can be obtained and to implement strategies to effect positive economic growth both at the port itself and within the region.


Rodrigue, Jean-Paul; Comtois, Claude and Brian Slack (2009). The Geography of Transport

Systems. Routledge: New York.

Essay on Positive and Negative) Contributing to Port Operations Assignment

Case Study 2 (3 pages with references)

Formulate a plan on how the Panama Canal can reduce vessel berthing time? Be clear and concise in your discussion.

Must include introduction and conclusion.

Berthing Time Reduction at the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal, built in 1913, is one of the world's major transportation hubs. It has served ships and economies for nearly a century and helped lead to further economic and tevchnological development around the world. But the canal itself was built at a time when supertankers and huge ships were non-existent. In modern times, the volume of ship traffic and the size of the ships needing to move through the port has changed, and the canal desperately needs to be retooled in order to take advantage of this increase in volume, and perhaps even to merely survive as a transportation hub.

As more and more vessels make their way to and through the canal each year, the issue of berthing time becomes quite complex. Each ship has to move to the canal, load or offload cargo, and move through it on its way to the next destination. While all ships do not load or unload at the canal, the berthing time functions of these ships become extremely complex, and computer software and planning solutions become increasingly necessary to help move ships through this small waterway as efficiently as possible (Rodrigue, Comtois, and Slack, 2009). When the canal is widened, the builders will need to take berthing time factors into account, allowing for future growth in technology and lessening of logistical constraints. One of these software solutions is dynamic planning, or DP (Ting and Tzeng, 2003). This type of planning is conducted by computers that have been programmed to function within certain scheduling constraints. This type of planning identifies costs related to both the fixed ship schedules and the services along the ship's route, in this case through the Panama Canal. This type of software solution also takes into account unforeseen time and space obstacles, and helps transportation and port managers deal with situations as they arise. In order to have more efficient flexibility for increased productivity, ships moving through the canal should be subjected to this sort of dynamic planning.

The dynamic planning solution also helps bring order to chaos within the canal because it is assumed that each ship has a fairly random time of berthing, given other specific conditions. If the ship is scheduled, as part of a master schedule or schedule that affects and takes into consideration other ships and their berthing times, the efficiency of which the ships move through the canal can be increased (Ting and Tzeng, 2003). Basically, the dynamic planning model takes a series of random, unrelated events and ships and creates an order, by which a port or canal can begin to make economical sense of the entire situation, or bigger picture.

Another solution to help rectify the berthing problems at the canal and reduce berthing time altogether is by creating a well-planned, strategic berthing and processing area when the builders begin to update the old canal to reflect the needs of the larger, higher-capacity ships (Rodrigue, Comtois, and Slack, 2009). Since ship berthing was a completely different animal 100 years ago, the planners of the original canal failed to take into consideration many of the modern day factors that affect berthing time currently. These factors include cargo processing, loading and unloading, customs concerns, and ship logistics like fuel and supplies. The Canal should be rebuilt with these understandings in mind while leaving room for future expansion and improvements.

This logistics-based solution will take more of a monetary investment, but this investment will likely pay off as, in the future, larger and larger ships are able to be accommodated through the canal at more and more efficient rates (Jackman and Olafsson, 2010). Basically, the canal infrastructure needs to be updated along with the canal itself. If ships are able to move through the canal at a higher rate, the widening of the canal should be able to be rather minimal. Effectively increasing efficiency of movement will result in the decreased need of physical improvements. That is to say, that planning and dynamic planning solutions will actually decrease the cost of the canal refurbishment through more effective planning and use of the existing structure.

Since the Panama Canal traverse is one of the most time-consuming parts of many suppliers' supply chains, figuring out a way or ways of reducing the time that ships are berthed at or near the canal will greatly improve the efficiency and costs associated with the entire supply chains of many suppliers. This is why canal movement and efficiency is so important to so many interests. The Panama Canal will remain one of the world's most strategically important and historically significant engineering and transportation projects for many centuries. It is important that the canal be updated and modernized effectively to reflect this importance in the transportation world.


Jackman, Z Guerra de Castillo and S. Olafsson. (2010). "Stochastic flow shop scheduling model for the Panama Canal." Journal of Operational Research Society. Vol. 14, No. 2. Pp. 188-197.

Rodrigue, Jean-Paul; Comtois, Claude and Brian Slack (2009). The Geography of Transport

Systems. Routledge: New York.

Ting, Shih-Chan and & Tzeng, Gwo-Hshiung. (2003). "Ship Scheduling and Cost Analysis for Route Planning in Liner Shipping." Maritime Economics and Logistics. Vol. 5, No.1. Pp. 378-392.

Strategic Intermodal Transportation (603)

Discussion Board (1page with references)

Discuss the importance of terminals and location. Select one aspect of this topic to discuss from one of the four sections (e.g., "Section 2, Hinterlands and Forelands") in the hyperlinked article below.


Terminals and locations are two extremely important considerations within any port. For centuries, as ports have been developed, builders, planners, and port managers have all realized that ports need to take location and terminal activity into careful consideration in order for a port to function effectively. Ports can be seen as two separate functions of transport. These functions are a centralized hub or an intermediary, acting between two or more other transportation hubs. Depending on which function a port is intended to fulfill, planners, builders, managers, and owners all must take these considerations to heart when designing and implementing port solutions either currently or in the future.

Authors Rodrigue, Comtois, and Slack (2009) explore the idea of relative location in their book, and much of what is discussed has been learned over the centuries as ports have risen and fallen based upon many factors, one of which is location. Relative port location should take into account many supporting factors. One of these factors is rail and road access. A large shipping port can no more effectively move cargo than any other type of port, unless it is successfully linked to rail and road outlets and can move cargo to and from the shipping port rather effectively. The port can be seen… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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