Innovations in the Development and Expansion of Intermodal Facilities

by M. John Vickerman, Vickerman?Zachary?Mill, Oakland, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Pacific Rim TransTech Conference?Volume II: International Ties, Management Systems, Propulsion Technology, Strategic Highway Research Program


The intermodal industry is a dynamic one, with a long history which has undergone profound change since the introduction of containerization only 30 years ago. Today, change continues at an ever-quickening pace as the marine industry experiences increased economic pressures and technological advances. Increased demand for rail intermodalism has already changed the traditional mix of truck and rail containers in some terminals and adjacent intermodal transfer facilities. In some cases, rail traffic may comprise as much as 70 to 80 percent of the total anticipated container movement, causing a dramatic overload on gate facilities dedicated to railbound containers during peak service periods. Limited land controlled by the port and terminal operators coupled with limited ability to expand existing facilities require the terminal planner to consider higher density storage systems. Recently, the staff at Vickerman?Zachary?Miller (VZM) participated in a study for the Maritime Administration under a Small Business Innovation Research Program grant. VZM's engineers simulated the operations of an intermodal-to-marine, marine-to-intermodal terminal on a computer. The end product was a model that could be used as a`design standard' which ports can use to test on-going projects where design must be compromised with the realities of land availability, configuration of the site and the limitations of type and availability of equipment. Model runs of the base case indicated that this technique is approximately 10 times more efficient in land use than current conventional operations.

Subject Headings: Rail transportation | Computer models | Ports and harbors | Container shipping | Terminal facilities | Mathematical models | Innovation

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