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Rail and the Future of International Shipping

Since railroads offer the cheapest method for transporting goods over land and ships are the most economical form of transit by sea, it is only natural for the two systems to become increasingly intertwined within the ongoing expansion of global trade. A similar connection is to be found between rail transport and truck transport. Both developments key to advances in communications assisted by computers, cell phones, and other mobile devices. All work together to make for a smooth transition flow that allows goods to more readily reach their destinations. While ships may move at slow speeds over long distance, the fact that much of their cargo now moves by container means that goods can be moved around the world in the same relative amount of time that they were moved nationwide, in the case of the United States just a few decades ago. It isn’t so much that the ships have sped up, though they are moving about twenty percent faster than they used to, but because merchandise no longer sits around a warehouse so long waiting to be sorted out before moving out to market. Containers have markedly decreased the time goods spend being warehoused, both in transit by… read more »

Port Construction Projects Enhance Global Trading

Increases in global trade have prompted both new port development projects as well as expansion of existing harbors. While these trends are occurring worldwide, several specific areas have recently announced major new developments. These include new construction efforts in the Middle East, North America, Eastern Europe, and East Asia. In the Middle East, Iraq is building new facilities for its recently reconstituted navy at the Umm Qasr Naval Base. This facility is positioned along the southern edge of that country astride an estuary that empties into the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assisting in the project. The facilities are designed to offer berths for warships that will provide protection for the nation’s vital oil exports. Securing the myriad components of the oil industry is considered critical for the country’s recovery from recent wars. In North America, expansion of the Port of Anchorage, Alaska faces special challenges due to the region’s high tides and seismic activity. Extensive numbers of berms are required to channel the currents that can otherwise surge along any pier that might be created. Altogether 135 acres of land are being developed to handle the expansion meant to serve tanker and cargo vessels. In… read more »