The staff of the Institute represents a broad range of maritime capabilities which can be flexibly applied to a given project or problem. In general, the functions of the Institute can be divided into seven categories, including maritime economics, maritime engineering and technology, intermodal systems, ports and waterways planning, privatization and institutional reform, maritime safety and environmental protection, and port management training.

Maritime Economics and Finance

The Institute's research in maritime economics addresses the efficient use of resources and technology in waterborne transportation. Utilizing fundamental principles of economics, our researchers analyze operations of shipping firms, ports, inland waterways, and the hinterland transportation system to provide strategies in the optimum use of manpower, energy, and facilities. The areas of analysis include financial and market evaluation of investment opportunities with emphasis on non-structural or low cost structural improvements of existing operations. Economic (social) benefits are being evaluated along with the financial health of maritime organizations. The theory and practice of tariffs and user charges are being continually expanded inclusive of benchmarking among competing ports, accounting procedures, relationships between individual activities and profit allocation, financial strategies and their impact on productivity, investment risk, and management structure. Recommendations are clearly presented to decision makers, allowing for practical implementation of conclusions.

Maritime Engineering and Technology

The Institute is at the forefront in many areas of international maritime research, applications of new technologies, and the impact of new technology on maritime transportation. New technological concepts and their commercial consequences in the short- and long-run are constantly developed, reviewed, and applied. The interactions between shore infrastructure and shipping (vessel) technology are being addressed. Particular emphasis is placed on the market for practical application for new vessel types and their associated impact on cargo handling equipment, port layouts, and intermodal operation. Computerized simulations are applied to test alternative layouts and enhance productivity. Technological innovations are integrated with the unique local conditions of river and coastal environments to derive cost effective alternative solutions.

Intermodal Systems

Intermodalism, or the combination of several modes of transportation into one integrated system, is probably the most rapidly developing area in modern transportation. Understandably, intermodalism is one of the major research areas of the Institute. The Institute builds, first, on specific expertise in the major transportation modes, including road, rail, inland waterways, and ocean systems. Secondly, the Institute has developed an expertise in system engineering to combine the mode-specific knowledge into a comprehensive intermodal transportation system. Recent research of the Institute encompassed the planning of a regional intermodal transportation system, including analysis of alternative mode combinations, and assessment of the overall system cost and corresponding level of service. Consequently, special research efforts have been devoted to intermodal terminals and the efficient bimodal exchange operation. Intermodal issues are multi-disciplinary with elements from areas of engineering, technology, economics, and planning.

Ports and Waterways Planning

One of the main focal points of the Institute is the development of methodologies for maritime strategic and master planning with application to specific ports and waterway segments as well as for regional and national maritime systems. The projects require extensive inputs from all divisions of the Institute and, if necessary, other university departments or consulting firms. The Institute has contributed extensively to planning concepts that reflect the newest industry trends, such as the creation of load centers, new vessels and their deployment, water and land accesses, emergency planning, and the interdependence between physical and institutional development. The major goal is practical implementation of proposed development programs. To achieve this goal the Institute works closely with users, such as liner services, and with a variety of financial institutions. Our services typically extend beyond analytical assessments by preparing the necessary documentation and business plans to secure commercial financing for private sector clients in joint ventures with public authorities, and the development of strategies and related analyses to assert an equitable degree of risk sharing in operating and lease agreements between the public and the private sector operators.

Privatization and Institutional Reform Services

Many maritime organizations face the possibility of business opportunities by spinning off and privatizing some of their services or, alternately, making investments with private sector participation. The Institute has wide experience in formulating institutional frameworks that minimize constraints to organizational efficiencies and in assessing the business potential of individual maritime services and for devising strategies for attracting private sector participation. At the same time, care is taken to preserve the public (shippers) interest and maintain a fair competitive environment. Institute researchers typically examine the competitive environment of the enterprise, analyze the market potential for specific services, evaluate the potential profitability of the enterprise, examine the economic and financial impact to the government and to users, structure a strategy for the privatization transaction, and address the clauses to be incorporated in the privatization transaction agreement.

Maritime Safety and Environment

The Institute has an extensive record in the critical areas of maritime safety and environmental protection. It has organized and facilitated international maritime safety workshops, provided training to port and maritime managers, and completed key research projects for federal and state agencies. Areas of expertise developed in these projects include risk and vulnerability analysis, waterway and vessel traffic management systems, contingency planning, pollution prevention, and oil pollution response management. The identification, consideration, and mitigation of threats to maritime safety and the marine environment help to ensure that the economic development of ports and the facilitation of maritime commerce can be accomplished without degrading the environment or endangering life and property.

Management Training

The efficient use of port and other maritime facilities is critically dependent on the development of sound management practices and operational procedures. Because of the need for improved utilization of available maritime infrastructures and rapid introduction of new techniques, the Institute has as one of its primary objectives provision of training to and port and waterways

personnel in the areas of maritime management, planning and engineering, operations, and finance. Training is directed mainly at middle and upper level personnel. The training activities are conducted by the Institute in close association with the Port of New Orleans, several other leading ports in the U.S. and overseas, and international maritime organizations. The Institute offers a variety of training activities, ranging from an annual management course (International Program for Port Planning and Management) and workshops on specific topics, to customized training, site visit programs, and internships with the Institute.

Selected Research Experience