Stevens and Weirton Area Port Authority Collaborate to Create Resilient Ports


Stevens and Weirton Area Port Authority Collaborate to Create Resilient Ports

Stevens researchers to develop a resiliency plan to enhance port security, efficiency, and profitability

Stevens Researchers

Artist Rendering of Terminal

In today’s global economy, ports are more important than ever in the supply chain, with approximately 80% of the entire world’s freight transported through waterborne vessels, valued at $1 trillion per year. To sustain an acceptable performance level despite disruptions, the Weirton Area Port Authority (WAPA) turned to the experts at Stevens Institute of Technology School of Engineering and Science and Howe School of Technology Management to create a resiliency plan in the event of an emergency. As members of the Executive Committee of the Stevens National Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, Dr. Thomas Wakeman and Dr. Hady Salloum, in collaboration with Jan Klein, Industry Associate Professor in the Howe School of Technology Management at Stevens, are leading the research team.

Stevens Researchers

Mr. James Greco

“This partnership exemplifies the critical real-world contributions Stevens researchers are making,” says Dr. Michael Bruno, Dean of the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science. “We are excited to work with the Weirton Area Port Authority to modernize ports and prepare for the increasing complexity of port systems.”

“Our clients must be able to sleep at night knowing their goods will be delivered to their various destinations, quickly and safely," says Weirton Area Port Authority, Inc. General Manager, James Greco. "With major competing ports nearby in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York City, we will guarantee our clients the highest level of performance — even in the event of a disruption.”

Stevens Researchers

Dr. Hady Salloum

Often disruptions are caused by natural forces, such as a hurricane or heavy rain, but can also be man-made, such as a labor strike, terrorist attack, or equipment failure. To respond to the large variety of possible disruptions, the team from Stevens will develop a multi-modal logistics system by identifying the critical infrastructure and analyzing cargo flow a nd its economic assets. Critical infrastructure may include physical structures such as dams, cranes, and surrounding roads, but also include an intelligent transportation system made of telecommunications and software applications to detect threats, re-route shipments, and restore service levels.

“There needs to be a balance between protecting a port and making it resilient to disruptions.  This requires developing a systematic approach dealing with the entire supply chain that includes both water and land side,” says Dr. Hady Salloum. “Also, consequences of disruptions need to be addressed to ensure the highest return from any investment made, whether for protection or resilience.”

Stevens Researchers

Mr. Jan Klein

The port’s assets include the value of cargo, tax revenue generated from business, and job creation for residents of the area and region. “Once the economic value of the addition of the Weirton Area Port is established, the Stevens team will assess the impact of a myriad of disruptive forces on the port and the investment returns that can be achieved by implementing Stevens recommended resiliency plan,” explains Mr. Klein.

Stevens Researchers

Dr. Thomas Wakeman

“This is an important collaboration between a port authority and a university that enriches all parties, and we look forward to future partnerships to continue to improve maritime commerce and safety,” says Dr. Thomas Wakeman.

The Weirton Area Port Authority was created in 1997 to establish an Inland port in the West Virginia Northern Panhandle. The WAPA is positioning itself as a Logistics Village and Virtual Port supporting enterprises and shippers that utilize inland transportation systems (water, road, rail, air). The Port’s mission is to connect businesses and communities to regional, federal, and national service networks and be a catalyst for regional economic development.

The Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce at Stevens works to preserve and secure US maritime resources and assets through collaborative knowledge development, innovation, education, and training. It was designated a National Center of Excellence by the Department of Homeland Security in 2008. The center conducts research and education to safeguard populations and improve port security.

Learn more about Stevens and the National Center of Excellence for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce and the Howe Institute of Technology or apply at Undergraduate or Graduate Admissions.