Study encourages container barge traffic
Dec 23, 2003 12:00 PM
Sufficient infrastructure already exists in many steel-handling and other river terminal facilities within the Port of Pittsburgh District to begin container-on-barge transport on the Ohio River, according to a pre-feasibility study completed recently by the Port of Pittsburgh PA Commission. The study was conducted by the commission and funded through a cooperative agreement with the US Maritime Administration. It comes at a time when the administration has begun to examine new ways to encourage waterway transportation.
"Containers have been regularly used on European and Chinese inland vessels, but are only now finding their way into US inland waterways," said James McCarville, port executive director. "Barge lines are reluctant to commit to a service without the guarantee of cargo--and container shippers are reluctant to commit cargo for a service that's not regularly offered."
While the study found that some specialized river terminal yard equipment would be required, it determined that the bigger problems were the lack of port marketing data and public-private intermodal partnerships to book waterway-cargo for multiple shippers and destinations. To rectify this situation, the port has retained the services of Martin Associates and Reebie Associated to better identify potential Southwestern Pennsylvania users of a container-on-barge service. The report describes the characteristics of successful container services around the world, the problems typically encountered when trying to start a service, and strategies for services any port on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers would likely have to overcome.
To see a copy of the study, click here for the port Web site at port.pittsburgh.pa.us.