A Market Accessibility Study of the Inland Waterway System in Mississippi

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Conference Proceeding

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Construction and Design


The accessibility of an inland waterway port provides significant impetus that can be leveraged by the port authority to enhance a region’s overall competitive advantage in the state or national space economy. This study aims to investigate the level of ease for marine and river ports in Mississippi to access port-dependent industries. To achieve this objective, the study established a quantification method for market accessibility of each waterborne port in Mississippi. The waterborne traffic data during 2011 and 2017 of the 16 ports has been analyzed to identify change patterns, trends, and port-dependent commodities. Then, an intermodal freight network has been established. This network consists of physical facilities such as ports, highways, railways, terminals, and transfer/access links that connect all the physical facilities. This network is the first of its kind in the state and able to optimize shipping routes with regard to any type of cost. Based on this intermodal network, a customized accessibility quantification method was developed to transfer best practices of this concept into a river ports evaluation, with an adjustment to accommodate port related industry needs by employing Location Quotient to quantify economic activity level of an area. Using this method, accessibility of each port to its potential markets was calculated using a single-mode network (highway only) and intermodal network (highway and railway). Based on the accessibility indices, a map of the accessibility indices is also provided to visually illustrate the distribution of the capability of ports to access their markets.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering Annual Conference 2021

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