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Due to the increasing globalization of the economy, intermodal transportation has become one of the main infrastructural resources that a country or a region should possess in order to achieve sustainable growth. In many cases, it is necessary to rely on ships, rail, as well as trucks in order to ensure the effective movement of goods (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, 2002, p. 27). More importantly, one should ensure the “seamless connection” between different modes of transportation (McGrown, 2005, p. 2). There are many places that can be described as the hubs of international trade. For instance, it is possible to speak about the Port of Houston.
It should be mentioned that the policy-makers intent to extend this port in order to make sure that that the goods are effectively handled. However, at the same time, the intensification of global trade has highlighted the necessity to improve the sustainability of intermodal transportation (Losa & Papagiannakis, 2014). In particular, the organizations that provide such services are required to minimize pollution that can undermine the quality of air and water. In this way, they can protect the health of people who can be living near ports. To a great extent, this issue has affected the Port of Houston, which is one of the largest ones in the United States. It is vital for the economic development of Texas.
One should mention that vessels and trucks can be viewed as a source of pollution. The problem became much acute because the movement of goods has intensified. The Port of Houston is placed through which more than “200 million tons of cargo” are moved annually. The cargo is carried by 200.000 barges and 8.000 vessels (Port of Houston Authority. 2012). Apart from that, one should speak about thousands of trucks that deliver goods. They are necessary for the seamless flow of goods through the port.
The main problem is that vessels and trucks can be viewed as dangerous sources of pollution. They significantly undermine the quality of air in the area located near the Port of Houston. Therefore, many local residents do not welcome the extension of this port. One should keep in mind that the problem of sustainability existed in the past. Nevertheless, it became much more acute due to the globalization of the economy and a growing number of shipments. These are the elements of this problem that can have significant implications for the entire community.
The problem should be overlooked because it can affect thousands of people who may be living near the Port of Houston. These emissions can produce dangerous effects on the health of people. In particular, they can.lead to cancer and respiratory diseases (Mosqueda, 2013). This is one of the dangers that should be taken into consideration.
As a result, many people object to the extension of the Houston Port. Therefore, this situation illustrates the conflict of interests. On the one hand, one can speak about the need to improve the infrastructure, which is vital for the economic development of the entire region. However, at the same time, it is critical to consider the interests of people whose life and health can be endangered. Therefore, this issue requires the attention of public administrators and entrepreneurs. These professionals should find ways of reconciling the interests of different stakeholders.
There are several alternatives to this problem. At first, the policy-makers can construct new terminals in those areas which are not located near urbanized areas. This approach can minimize the dangerous effects on the health of people. Nevertheless, this solution will require considerable financial resources. One should not overlook that the Port of Houston already has extensive infrastructure which can support intermodal transportation. In turn, the construction of a terminal in a different location will be more expensive and time-consuming. This is one of the challenges that should be taken into account.
Furthermore, the policy-makers may decide to impose restrictions on the companies which operate ships that emit larger quantities of emissions. Admittedly, this policy can reduce the effects of pollution. However, in the long term, this policy can significantly undermine the development of the port. Many companies will be forced to end their partnership with the Port of Houston. As a result, this port may stagnate in the long term. This is one of the disadvantages that can be identified.
Overall, it is possible to provide several recommendations that may be considered by policy-makers and investors. In particular, they should introduce laws which require the adoption of eco-friendly technologies. For instance, it is possible to speak about the use of retrofitted trucks (Mosqueda, 2013). This initiative is important for reducing the emissions that result from port trucking. Additionally, it is possible to mention such a policy as the differentiation of harbor fees. In other words, the companies operating ships will be required to pay a larger fee depending on the number of emissions their vessels produce. Therefore, these organizations will have a greater incentive to adopt eco-friendly technologies. This policy can help entrepreneurs and residents reach a compromise.
Losa, M., & Papagiannakis, T. (2014). Sustainability, Eco-efficiency, and Conservation in Transportation Infrastructure Asset Management. New York, NY: CRC Press.
McGrown, B. (2005). Intermodal Transportation Challenges of the 21st Century. Web.
Mosqueda, P. (2013). Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems: The Downside of Houston’s Port Expansion. Web.
Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. (2002). Transport Logistics Shared Solutions to Common Challenges: Shared Solutions to Common Challenges. New York, NY: OECD Publishing.
Port of Houston Authority.(2012). Overview. Web.