Research Activities: 2012

Feasibility Analysis of System Dynamics for Inland Maritime Logistics

Status Complete                   View Final Report: PDF
Sequential Number R356
Identification Number 00043194
Matching Research Agency

EMSE, S&T and Industrial Engineering, UArk

Principal Investigator

Suzanna Long
Assistant Professor
Missouri University of Science and Technology
215 EMGT Building
Rolla, MO 65409

Student Involvement

The project will include two senior level graduate students at 50% FTE (one at Missouri S&T and one at University of Arkansas).

Project Objective The major research tasks proposed include:
  • Conceptual Phase: Understand and represent the inland maritime logistics system conceptually within a system dynamics environment
  • Data Collection Phase: Identify necessary data sources to represent the maritime logistics system within a system dynamics model
  • Preliminary Analysis: Conduct preliminary analysis to examine the feasibility of utilizing system dynamics to study the inland maritime logistics environment
Project Abstract The commercially important U.S. inland waterway system is an open system consisting of 12,000 miles of navigable waterways managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)(Stern, 2012). Inland and intracoastal waterways serve thirty-eight states with nearly 200 commercially active lock sites (USACE, 2009). Multimodal Transportation
Systems (MTS) play an essential role in corporations competing in US maritime logistics operations. In transportation, the effectiveness and efficiency of the whole system depends upon the interconnectivity of its elements. Because disruptions in the supply chain are costly, this research will look at improving the efficiency of Multimodal inland maritime hubs by looking at disruptions that have a negative impact on the elements that make up the MTS. Although past research classifies disruptions in MTS as: congestion, demand fluctuations, time delays, capacity limits, scheduling and, connectivity between the different modes, limited research address the relationship between these failures and the system. System Dynamics (SD) is a fairly sophisticated way of thinking about the interconnections of these elements. This research explores the feasibility of a SD approach to MTS modeling, which will let us iterate and mitigate a system to be able to forecast scenarios and meaningful hypothesis of a system’s behavior over
time. The SD model will aid to identify and understand those major elements and disruptions that altogether impact the efficiency of the MTS. The model will help determine how the disruptive factors of the supply chain are related to the efficiency of the system. Future work will suggest decision-making strategies that will improve MTS performance over time being able to enhance customer satisfaction.

Relationship to other Research/Projects

This pioneering research is not related to current NUTC projects.


Transportation-Related Keywords

Inland Hub; Multimodal Transportation System; System Dynamics; Maritime Logistics

Technology Transfer Activities

Final report will be presented to NUTC at the end of the effort. Additionally, one research paper and two conference presentations will present the developed methodology to engineering community.


Project Deliverables

Completed report

Anticipated Benefits

This study will address the need for better inland maritime logistics through an evaluation of existing methods and a fusion of these ideas into a new decision model geared toward effective infrastructure policy and collaboration.


Project Start Date: 07/01/2013
Project End Date: