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473700-00075-1 Report Abstract

Characteristics of Drayage Operations at the Port of Houston

Robert Harrison, Nathan Hutson, Jason West and Julie Wilke, University of Texas at Austin, September 2008, 40 pp. (473700-00075-1)

Port drayage, defined as a container truck pickup to or from a seaport terminal with both the trip origin and destination in the same urban area, is a critical yet comparatively understudied link in the intermodal supply chain. Because port dray trucks operate primarily in urban environments, they can have a significant impact on congestion and air quality. The primary goal of this study is to identify key dray industry characteristics at the Port of Houston Authority (POHA) to help planners prepare for increasing container volumes while maintaining profitability and mitigating societal costs. The report gives the results of interviews with dray managers and a survey of 103 port drivers at the Port of Houston Barbours Cut container terminal on demographics, working conditions, truck characteristics, route characteristics and port operations. The results of the study are then compared against the existing literature, most of which comes from the Los Angeles area. Substantial variation is shown in the age and mileage of trucks. While only a minority of drivers was unsatisfied with overall terminal efficiency, many had suggestions on ways in which efficiency could be improved. The industry is found to be relatively stable despite the increasing demands placed by high container growth rates which have created a shortage of drivers at some locations. Lastly, the report examines methods in which the dray fleet could be modernized through air quality improvement grants.

Keywords: Drayage, Intermodal, Ports, Container Terminals, Dray Drivers

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 316 KB)