Intermodal Transportation: Baltimore and Philadelphia Ports

Subject: Transportation
Pages: 3
Words: 554
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College


Based on research findings, the rate of population growth globally has been pushing policy makers to rethink the way services are delivered. Arguably, this has led to an increase in cargo flows throughout different ports in the world (Konings, Priemus & Nijkamp, 2008). It is for this reason that an intermodal freight system has been identified as a possible solution to the demands for port services.

Unlike the traditional freight transport system, an intermodal system is one that relies on different modes of transport in order to move freight from one place to another and to create a smooth transport channel. To a large extent, however, the success of intermodal transportation has been hindered by a number of factors that include lack of interconnectivity and interoperability. In addition, there is poor coordination and utilization of available opportunities presented by technology.

This paper looks at how older ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia which have limited real estate available for expansion can effectively compete with newer large ports. Specifically, expansion of the infrastructure and the concept of agile port system are examined.

Expansion of Infrastructure and Superstructure

Most business enterprises across the world make use of technology to design solutions that can be used to effectively solve problems. As older ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia fight to survive in a business setting that is dominated by newer larger ports, it is imperative to think of infrastructural developments that would lead to better results. This may include but is not limited to expanding the existing infrastructure or undertaking an upward extension of superstructures given that very limited space is available for expansion. Consequently, helpful designs are those that make it possible to extend beyond the baseline with ease.

As pointed out by Konings, Priemus & Nijkamp (2008), older ports can also expand their services through mergers with shipping lines, logistic service providers, and terminal operators. Undoubtedly, such mergers will enable them to extend their services and increase capacity without necessarily having to invest in new equipment or even sophisticated technology. Ordinarily, mergers create an opportunity for older ports to leverage on the strengths of others.

The Concept of Agile Port System

Agile port systems create a system of port terminals that can effectively support varying degrees of cargo quantities and minimize disruption of services offered to the public. Apparently, the application of the agile port concept the use of an intermodal transport system are very instrumental when it comes to improving the services offered by older ports (Konings, Priemus & Nijkamp, 2008). It is thus advisable to promote the agile port concept around the ports as a way of ensuring effective delivery of port services. While agile ports increase the port capacity, their success depends so much on cooperation and smooth coordination among stakeholders.


As discussed in this paper, older ports have to embrace strategies that can give them an opportunity to compete successfully against newer larger ports. As suggested in this paper, mergers, alliances, partnerships, and agile port systems have a lot to offer older ports as they strive to meet the increased demand of services brought about by the constant increase in population. Based on the arguments presented here, the use of different approaches to move freight from one place to another is absolutely critical for the survival of older ports.


Konings, R., Priemus, H., Nijkamp, P. (2008). Future of Intermodal Freight Transport: Operations, Design and Policy. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.