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Freight Fluidity for the Port of Baltimore: Vessel Approach and Maritime Mobility Metrics
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is tasked with maintaining waterborne transportation system elements. Understanding channel utilization by vessels informs decisions regarding operations, maintenance, and investments in those elements. Historically, investment decisions have been informed by safety, environmental considerations, and projected economic benefits of alleviating channel restrictions or shipping delays (usually derived from models). However, quantifying causes and impacts of shipping delays based on actual historical vessel location data and then identifying which causes could be ameliorated through investment has been out of reach until recently. In this study, Automatic Identification System vessel position reports were used to develop quantitative measures of transit and dwell-time reliabilities for commercial vessels calling at the Port of Baltimore, Maryland. This port has two deep-water approaches: Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Descriptive metrics were determined for each approach, including port cycle time, harbor stay hours, travel time inbound, and travel time outbound. Then, additional performance measures were calculated: baseline travel time, travel time index, and planning time index. The key finding of this study is that the majority of variability in port cycle time is due to the variability in harbor stay hours, not from channel conditions or channel restrictions.
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