Professor Says Demands On Ports Make Them More Vulnerable

Friday, August 25, 2006
America's ports could be a weak link in America's economy, says a maritime ports expert at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University. Michael Maloni, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship and co-author of a 2005 container port capacity survey, says that port traffic is growing exponentially. While ports are handling current demand, container volume is expected to at least double in the next ten years, and signs of 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) strike on 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.

In addition to his research on container ports, his work has appeared in leading publications such as the Journal of Business Logistics, Journal of Operations Management, European Journal of Operational Research, Transportation Journal, Journal of Transportation Management, and the Journal of Business Ethics.

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