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A1fearing - 1.221J Transportation Systems Assignment 1 Transportation System Issues Port of Long Beach California Rebecca Cassler Fearing

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1.221J Transportation Systems Assignment 1: Transportation System Issues Port of Long Beach, California Rebecca Cassler Fearing September 16, 2004
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Introduction The Port of Long Beach (POLB) California is the world’s third largest port, processing approximately 4.6 million cargo containers in 2003 (Port of Long Beach Fact Card 2004). The containers (also known as TEUs, 20 ft equivalent units), carry machinery, vehicles, agricultural products and other goods between Long Beach and overseas destinations. The port is an excellent example of an intermodal transportation system as containers are moved among boats, cranes, trucks and rails in one location. This paper will profile the Port of Long Beach as a transportation system by discussing general transportation concepts, important aspects of the system and potential areas for improvement. General Transportation Concepts The Port of Long Beach is the largest port in the United States. It receives incoming freight containers from primarily Asia and transfers the containers to trucks or trains for distribution to customers in the continental United States. Additionally, the port is an export location for US products going over seas to other countries and Hawaii. To execute these functions, the port has many physical components. To understand the port operations, it is particularly necessary to explore the infrastructure and vehicles in this transportation system. The infrastructure of the port consists of “3240 acres of land with 10 piers and 80 berths” (Port of Long Beach Fact Card 2004). Each pier has multiple berths, where cargo ships dock to unload their freight containers. On the pier, there is storage space to hold containers before they are transferred to outgoing transportation. The pier also has roads for trucks to access the containers and logistics hubs where trucks and trains can be loaded with outgoing containers. The photo below shows a wide view of a pier at POLB including 1) docked ships with unloading cranes on the left, 2) container storage in the center and 3) outgoing trains on the right. Port of Long Beach (Fearing 2002) Many vehicles are involved in the daily POLB operations including ships, containers, cranes, trucks and railroad cars. For illustrative purposes, the import process will be tracked through all of these vehicles. Cargo ships from the Pacific Ocean travel into the San Pedro Bay and dock at piers at the POLB. The ships can be up to a quarter mile long (Port of Long Beach Fact Card 2004) and stack 20 ft. containers up to six units high on their decks. Although it is not required to containerize cargo, approximately 80% of US
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imports and exports are processed though containers (Sussman 264). Upon a ship’s arrival at a berth, the containers and other cargo are unloaded by cranes. Ships, containers and cranes
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This note was uploaded on 12/06/2011 for the course ESD 1.221j taught by Professor Josephsussman during the Fall '04 term at MIT.

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A1fearing - 1.221J Transportation Systems Assignment 1 Transportation System Issues Port of Long Beach California Rebecca Cassler Fearing

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