Marine Log

August 28, 2006

Port capacity problems ahead

Ports could become a weak link in the American economy, says an expert at Georgia's Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.

Port traffic is growing exponentially, says Michael Maloni, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship and co-author of a 2005 container port capacity survey,

Container volume is expected to at least double in the next ten years, and signs of port capacity problems are already emerging.

"Hurricane Katrina shut down the ports of New Orleans, Mobile, and Gulfport," Maloni says. "These ports represented only about 2% of total North American container volume, and Houston was mostly able to handle the diverted traffic, but next time it could be worse. If a major hurricane or terrorist attack hits a major port or worse, a region of ports, it would have a serious impact on the economy."

"There is not enough capacity to handle major disruptions to the port system," he adds. "The 2002 International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) son labor dispute the West Coast, for example, cost the U.S. economy $1 billion a day."

Maloni's industry experience includes more than 10 years of supply chain consulting and industry work with Fortune 500 firms, primarily in the consumer products, retail, and chemicals industries. Most recently, he managed $80 million of international marine transportation for a third-party logistics (3PL) company. His academic expertise includes global transportation, third-party logistics, supply chain integration, and corporate social responsibility issues.