2010-2011 Funded Projects

  • The Economics of a Bi-State Truck Ferry
    Dr. Thomas Brady, Purdue North Central University
    The economic viability of roll on-roll off truck ferry service operating between the Port of Milwaukee and Muskegon, MI will be examined given specific transit time and fuel cost assumptions. Transportation taxes for domestic intra-lake cargos moving on the Great Lakes will be documented and compared to land routes connecting the same markets. This study will build upon user surveys completed in a prior study and will examine the feasibility of a trailer only truck ferry between Milwaukee and Muskegon with actual origin and destination points in the Great Lakes states. The impact of harbor maintenance costs, tolls and variable fuel prices will be documented based on the top five truck lanes as measured by number of truck trips between Minnesota/Wisconsin and Michigan/Ohio/Indiana.

  • Air Lubrication Drag Reduction on Great Lakes Ships
    Dr. Steven Ceccio, University of Michigan
    We propose to explore the use of air lubrication on ships and barges of the Great Lakes. Successful application of air lubrication to both existing and new craft will save fuel and reduce exhaust emissions. Air lubrication is the pumping of gas beneath the hull to reduce the contact of the liquid flow with the solid surface. The challenge is to efficiently deliver the gas the hull and manage its flow for the maximum reduction of friction drag. If successful, air lubrication can lead to fuel saving of between 5 and 20%. Two promising methods of air lubrication are Air Layer Drag Reduction (ALDR), and Partial Cavity Drag Reduction (PCDR). Support from GLMRI will be used to evaluate the use of these methods on ships and barges operating on the Great Lakes. We will conduct a feasibility study, a cost-benefit analysis, and propose preliminary designs. We will provide recommendations to ship owners and operators about the potential of air lubrication for reduced operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Great Lakes Maritime Education Program for K-12 Teachers, Students and Communities
    Ms. Joan Chadde, Michigan Technological University
    The Center for Science & Environmental Education Outreach at Michigan Technological University (MTU) will continue to expand several of the successful Great Lakes Maritime Transportation education/outreach programs that have been implemented 2006-2010.The Center will partner with the National Center for Freight & Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    The Center plans to conduct two summer teacher institutes — Mathematics & Navigation to be held at Michigan Tech using the research vessel Agassiz, and a Great Lakes Maritime Transportation institute in Door County, Wisconsin. In addition, the Center proposes to conduct two 1-day elementary teacher workshops during the school year in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Ohio. The workshops will result in the development of a lesson & activity guide on Great Lakes maritime transportation. Eight more Great Lakes maritime transportation education teaching chests will be assembled and distributed to education/outreach schools, museum, and institutions in the Great Lakes region.

  • Economic Impact of the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway System (GLSLS), Oct 2010-Oct 2011
    Dr. David Doorn, University of Minnesota Duluth
    The initial phase of this project, completed as of October 2009, generated the following results: 1) A decision on particular ports and areas to be considered in the broader economic impact analysis; 2) A selection of the MARAD Port Kit as the primary model used in conducting the impact analysis; 3) A determination of port by port data needs for use in the MARAD Port Kit. 4) A plan to conduct an initial detailed pilot case using the port of Duluth/Superior as the beta test for the larger study, which will then be expanded to include sixteen Great Lakes Ports in total.

    The second project phase, proposed June 2009 and currently under way, has thus far focused on obtaining and implementing the MARAD Port Kit model for the pilot study of the Twin Ports and one additional area, the Port of Green Bay. This has involved refinement of data collection procedures to determine the best means of collecting the data to be input into the model. The impact analysis has looked at which industries are directly impacted by the port systems and transportation sectors that extend from them, as well as the secondary economic effects stemming from direct employment, output, and value added measures. The effects are reported as direct, indirect, and induced economic effects, which also account for the benefits stemming from the port system to the extended communities.

    A continuation of this phase is proposed here, which includes expanding the impact analyses to include additional ports on the Great Lakes. This requires purchasing additional model components for the MARAD Port Kit that includes the counties containing each additional port and data on the eight states in which those counties are located. In addition, data collection procedures will need to be implemented for each individual port in order to obtain inputs into the model. This can range from the minimum data collection necessary to get impact results based upon national average costs of port operations to undertaking more detailed surveying of port users and operators to collect data on local costs. While the minimal collection gives concrete and defensible results, the latter will allow for more region specific outcomes reflecting localized cost structures. This would generate a richer analysis for each port. The extent of data collection to be undertaken and the richness of the impact results will depend upon funding availability.

    The impact report will be of interest to all Great Lakes region stakeholders as well as for questions of national transportation policy. Reported impacts can be used to inform affected industries, St. Lawrence Seaway corporations, maritime industries involved with the Great Lakes ports, and government agencies that develop and maintain the Seaway infrastructure.

    A related future project intends to construct Great Lakes Maritime Economic Indexes, which will build economic indicators to index and measure progress over time for the affected stakeholders. This project has yet to be formally proposed but will build upon Phase I and Phase II activities to date and their continuation as laid out in this proposal.

  • Phase II- Developing a Risk Assessment Tool to Predict the Accelerated Corrosive Loss of Port Transportation Infrastructure: Model Validation and Regional Application
    Dr. Randall Hicks, University of Minnesota Duluth
    Coastal communities around the Great Lakes have historically been dependent upon maritime transportation. Planned expansions in the mining and steel industries and growing tourism indicate an even greater future need for adequate port infrastructure. Yet, Lake Superior ports face a severe problem – accelerated corrosive loss of their docks and piers. Results from previous research indicate an approach that can be used to predict the risk of similar corrosion at other ports within the Great Lakes. During the first phase of this project, we are measuring sulfate, chloride, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, and DOC concentrations, abundances of iron-oxidizing and sulfate-reducing bacteria, and making estimates of accumulated steel corrosion (corrosion tubercle abundance, pit depth) in the Duluth-Superior harbor and parameterizing a model that predicts the severity (i.e., risk) of accelerated corrosion of steel structures. Our analysis of preliminary data suggests that water quality alone may not be responsible for accelerating this steel corrosion. In the second phase of our work (this proposal), we will collect data from three other ports in the Great Lakes to validate the risk assessment model. Our ultimate goal is to create a tool that can assist economic forecasts that companies and governments make to decide when to repair or replace their docks, bulkheads, and piers.

  • Combining Fine Dredged Materials and Biosolids for Sustainable, Beneficial Reuse
    Dr. Nathan Johnson, University of Minnesota Duluth
    The first phase of this project, now underway and to be complete as of October 2009, will determine data needs for Great Lakes Maritime Economic Impact project and address organizational data-related challenges to the impact modeling.

    In order to ensure the continuing economic viability of maritime commerce in the St. Louis River harbor, a sustainable solution to the handling of dredged materials must be realized. The objective of the proposed work is to assess the feasibility of using fine materials from dredging operations in conjunction with biosolids from WLSSD to formulate optimal nutrient content and physical properties for beneficial reuse applications. A review and analysis of existing information will be used to form the basis for the experimental investigation of three different potential applications.

    In addition to the specific experimental analyses, several different mixtures of dredged material/biosolids will be investigated during the summer months for their utility in the establishment of vegetation. The proposed work will contribute to the development of an innovative, sustainable solution to the management of dredged materials from port operations.

  • This project is the sixth phase of a long-term endeavor to develop and manage a comprehensive data repository and information clearinghouse for the maritime community in the Great Lakes. This proposed phase attempts to increase the user base of the project’s Midwest FreightView (MWFV) data delivery system with the development of a new improved interface, one that is easier to use yet retains the contents of a comprehensive data repository. Furthermore, new approaches will be integrated into the system featuring automated data collection programs linked to AIS data acquisition. In addition, this phase will focus on the integration of analytical tools developed in previous phases into the new Midwest FreightView (MWFV) application. A continued emphasis will also be placed on technology transfer through workshops, standardized documentation of data, and publications to increase the profile of the system. As with previous phases of the project, this proposed work continues its emphasis on data collection and management and will provide support for maintaining and updating the web site at http://maritime.utoledo.edu. Furthermore, the project team will continue to work with outside institutions and GLMRI affiliates to deliver data and cooperate in joint research efforts. These objectives are designed to position the system at the next level as a valuable resource tool for government, researchers, and commerce to link freight movements to the regional economy. The outcome of these efforts are expected provide all stakeholders with the necessary data applications for policy decisions, for marketing the Great Lakes Maritime Transportation System, for monitoring traffic volumes, and for optimizing goods movements through the system.

*Reports are in PDF format. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.

Latest News:

Inland Waterways LNG Stakeholders Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri

The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) in conjunction with and support from the Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation, hosted a meeting of stakeholders to discuss the possibilities of using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a marine fuel for the inland waterways".

Third annual meeting on regional Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) potential held May 21st

LNG experts discussed LNG uses and the safety culture along with their experiences as current users. The afternoon panel highlighted the potential benefits of using LNG, themed "greening the supply chain". More details here.

Meeting to Discuss Base Local Demand and Siting for an LNG Liquefaction Plant

Potential LNG fuel users from mining, agricultural, trucking, rail and maritime sectors met to determine if there is sufficient base load demand within a 200 mile region to warrant development of an LNG liquefaction and fuel transport, storage and distribution network centered in Duluth/Superior. Work continues to consider siting and determine supply chain demand. Presentations from the meeting

Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Meeting Highlights

The SNAME Section meeting was held on Feb. 13-14 in conjunction with the Great Lakes Waterways Conference in Clevelandl. Read meeting highlights here