Effectiveness Of Maritime Transportation System Essay

Length: 10 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Transportation Type: Essay Paper: #3267854 Related Topics: Transportation, Port Security, Public Transportation, Marine Pollution

Excerpt from Essay :

Maritime Transportation System or MTS is one of the critical infrastructure systems that promote economic activity by enabling the transfer of goods between national and international destinations throughout the globe. As a result of its role in promoting economic activity, Maritime Transportation System is one of the most important elements for the United States national security. However, maritime systems have become increasingly vulnerable to risks that could jeopardize smooth operations and contributes to direct and indirect financial losses. Some of these risks include organizational and environmental risks as well as security risks like terrorism. The risks to the smooth operations and effectiveness of maritime systems are classified into four major categories i.e. human, natural, organizational, and technological factors since they emerge from natural and man-made disasters. In the past few years, there has been significant focus on promoting the sustainability of Maritime Transportation System through dealing with these risks and enhancing effectiveness of operations.

Overview of Maritime Transportation System

As previously mentioned, Maritime Transportation System is a crucial infrastructure system given its role in promoting economic activity by facilitating the transfer of goods in national and international destinations.[footnoteRef:2] The maritime domain basically incorporates all aspects that are related to sea, ocean or other navigable waterway. Consequently, Maritime Transportation System comprises ports, waterways, and intermodal landside connections that facilitate the transportation or movement of people and goods from, to, and on the water. In light of this definition, Maritime Transportation System is characterized by a high level of complexity and dynamics in operations. Generally, maritime-related activities consist of transportation of people, vessels, cargo, and other conveyances related to the various connections. [2: Mo Mansouri, Alex Gorod, Thomas H. Wakeman & Brian Sauser, "A Systems Approach to Governance in Maritime Transportation System of Systems," Stevens Institute of Technology, accessed May 16, 2015, http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Brian_Sauser/publication/224602022_A_systems_approach_to_governance_in_Maritime_Transportation_System_of_Systems/links/0c96051598e3e6781b000000.pdf]

Notably, Maritime Transportation System includes approximately 25,000 miles of navigable channels, nearly 300 locks at various locations, several recreational marinas, more than 1,400 designated intermodal connections, and more than 3,700 marine terminals.[footnoteRef:3] Given the complexity and diversity of the operations of this transport system, MTS is the cornerstone of international trade and globalization. Ships carry cargoes to every corner of the world twenty-four hours a day and throughout the year. In light of the increased growth in world, the role of Maritime Transportation System in world trade is expected to experience constant growth. The expected growth is also attributed to the fact that many people around the world are experiencing enhanced access to basic materials and goods and products. [3: Richard Lolich, "Marine Transportation System (MTS)," U.S. Department of Transportation -- Maritime Administration, accessed May 16, 2015, http://www.marad.dot.gov/ports_landing_page/marine_transportation_system/MTS.htm]

Shipping transports throughout the world account for nearly 90% of international trade to individuals and communities throughout the globe. The significance and role of shipping in world trade is evident in the fact that shipping is the most efficient and cost-effective means of global transportation of products. Therefore, shipping provides a reliable and cost-effective method of transportation of goods worldwide, which in turn promotes commerce and helps create prosperity among people and countries. In addition, global maritime transports promote and maintain a considerable number of wealth-generating and poverty-alleviating activities in developed and developing countries. These activities help in improving the lifestyles of people while providing job opportunities to more than 1.5 million people throughout the world, especially in developing countries.

The social and economic impacts of shipping and maritime-related activities have contributed to the significance of Maritime Transportation System in the modern world. This important function is also demonstrated in the ongoing improvement of the performance of Maritime Transportation Systems.[footnoteRef:4] One of the major factors that have enabled MTS to achieve this significant role and function in world economy is free market forces that enabled it to realize a high level of efficiency. The free market forces has played a major role in the expansion...


[4: "A Concept of a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System," International Maritime Organization, accessed May 16, 2015, http://www.imo.org/About/Events/WorldMaritimeDay/WMD2013/Documents/CONCEPT%20OF%20%20SUSTAINABLE%20MARITIME%20TRANSPORT%20SYSTEM.pdf]

Dependence on Maritime Transportation System

As previously mentioned, Maritime Transportation System has considerable social and economic impacts on the lives of people and development of nations. The social impacts are largely attributed to creation of job opportunities and improvement of access to essential materials, goods, and products. However, there has been a significant economic dependence on Maritime Transportation System because of the role of the system in promoting economic activity across the world. In the past four decades, maritime trade has quadrupled to an extent that it currently exceeds 6 billion tons annually, which is accompanied with an annual growth rate of approximately 4%.

The economic dependence on and significance of Maritime Transportation System is evident in the contribution of waterborne and maritime-related activities to economic growth and development of nations. Actually, these activities contribute over $649 billion to the United States Gross Domestic Product every year while sustaining more than 13 million jobs. Marine Transportation System activities contribute to more than $212 billion in yearly port sector taxes for local, state, and federal governments.

Given the recent growth and increase in economic activity, the Maritime Transportation System currently generates more than $750 billion of the U.S. GDP and handles 95% of all international trade. This critical infrastructure is an important aspect of United States national security because of the direct and indirect links between economic activity and security. Essentially, the United States' economic and military security initiatives are closely related to the operations and well-being of the Maritime Transportation System. Therefore, the economic and social well-being of the United States is dependent on safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly Maritime Transportation System.[footnoteRef:5] [5: Keith Michel & Peter Noble, "Technological Advances in Maritime Transportation," Transport Infrastructure 38 no.2 (2008).]

Risks Posed by Maritime Transportation System

Despite its significance in social and economic well-being of people and nations, Maritime Transportation System poses several risks with regards to fatalities, loss of property, and environmental pollution.[footnoteRef:6] These risks mainly emerge from accidents where ships carrying passengers are involved and generate considerable human casualties. Ship safety has emerged as a major concern in light of the increased function and significance of Maritime Transportation System. As MTS continues to become an important infrastructure system in the modern economy, it continues to pose significant risks related to human fatalities and loss of property in case of accidents in ships carrying passengers and cargoes. The environmental pollution risks posed by Maritime Transportation System are mainly attributed to the operations of ships, particularly with regards to fuel used. These environmental risks have attracted significant concerns because of the recent increase in global warming and severe damage of world ecosystems due to emissions of greenhouse gases into the Earth's atmosphere. [6: Jakub Montewka et al., "A Framework for Risk Assessment for Maritime Transportation Systems -- A Case Study for Open Sea Collisions Involving RoPax Vessels," Reliability Engineering & Safety System 124 (2014): 142]

The risks posed by Maritime Transportation System have contributed to several studies on improvements to ship safety. The studies have been carried out in attempts to develop a framework for risk assessment of this transportation system based on a holistic risk model. As demonstrated in the findings of these studies, it is important to establish the concept of risk-based design for ships that carry passengers in which the foundation of risk assessment is the capability of a ship to survive in volatile and risky conditions. This can be achieved through adopting a holistic approach to the risk assessment framework provided by the International Maritime Organization.

The process of lessening the risks posed by Maritime Transportation System also requires a framework that assesses the risks to ships both at the design and operational stages in a proactive and systematic manner. This approach would help gain insights on the process of risk evolution and identifying the most crucial and sensitive variables that contribute the most to the specific risk in order to mitigating it in the most suitable and effective means.

Security Risks to Maritime Transportation System

Given the complexity of their operations, maritime systems are usually exposed and vulnerable to several organizational and environmental risks that could have considerable impacts on their services and disrupt operations. Actually, failing to address these organizational and environmental risks to these transportation systems could contribute to huge amounts of direct and indirect financial losses. The natural and man-made risks to the effective functioning of Maritime Transportation System are classified into four major categories i.e. natural, organizational, human, and technological factors.[footnoteRef:7] [7: Mo Mansouri, Alex Gorod, Thomas H. Wakeman & Brian Sauser, "A Systems Approach to Governance in Maritime Transportation System of Systems," Stevens Institute of Technology, accessed May 16, 2015, http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Brian_Sauser/publication/224602022_A_systems_approach_to_governance_in_Maritime_Transportation_System_of_Systems/links/0c96051598e3e6781b000000.pdf]

The main risk to the effective operations of Maritime Transportation System is constant security threats and risks. The existing security policies and strategies do not provide effective deterrence to emerging security threats that could disrupt operations of Maritime Transport System. Actually, maritime transportation is America's most serious vulnerability…

Sources Used in Documents:


A Concept of a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System. International Maritime

Organization. accessed May 16, 2015. http://www.imo.org/About/Events/WorldMaritimeDay/WMD2013/Documents/CONCEPT%20OF%20%20SUSTAINABLE%20MARITIME%20TRANSPORT%20SYSTEM.pdf

Christopher, Kenneth. Port Security Management (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis

Group, LLC.
Council on Foreign Relations. accessed May 16, 2015. http://www.cfr.org/border-and-port-security/continued-vulnerability-global-maritime-transportation-system/p10074
Maritime Administration. accessed May 16, 2015. http://www.marad.dot.gov/ports_landing_page/marine_transportation_system/MTS.htm
Mansouri, Mo, Gorod, Alex, Wakeman, Thomas H. & Sauser, Brian. "A Systems Approach to Governance in Maritime Transportation System of Systems." Stevens Institute of Technology. accessed May 16, 2015. http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Brian_Sauser/publication/224602022_A_systems_approach_to_governance_in_Maritime_Transportation_System_of_Systems/links/0c96051598e3e6781b000000.pdf
Maritime Transportation System Security Recommendations for the National Strategy for Maritime Security. Department of Homeland Security. Last modified October 2005. https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/HSPD_MTSSPlan.pdf
Samija, Suzana. "Maritime Transport Management for the Purpose of Efficiency and Safety of Shipping Services." University of Rijeka -- Faculty of Maritime Studies. accessed May 16, 2015. http://www.geocities.ws/icts_papers/Papers/Samija.pdf

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