Developing and Implementing a Port Fluidity Performance Measurement Methodology using Automatic Identification System Data Academic Article uri icon


  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for the maintenance of federally authorized navigation channels and associated infrastructure. As such, USACE requires objective performance measures for determining the level of service being provided by the hundreds of maintained navigation projects nationwide. To this end, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center partnered with Texas A&M Transportation Institute to develop a freight fluidity assessment framework for coastal ports. The goal was to use archival automatic identification system (AIS) data to develop and demonstrate how ports can be objectively compared in relation to fluidity, or the turnaround time reliability of oceangoing vessels. The framework allows USACE to evaluate maintained navigation project conditions alongside port system performance indices, thereby providing insight into questions of required maintained channel dimensions. The freight fluidity concept focuses on supply chain performance measures such as travel time reliability and end-to-end shipping costs. Although there are numerous research efforts underway to implement freight fluidity, this is the first known application to U.S. ports. This paper covers AIS data inputs, quality control, and performance measures development, and also provides a demonstration application of the methodology at the Port of Mobile, Alabama, highlighting travel time and travel time reliability operating statistics for the overall port area. This work provides foundational knowledge to practitioners and port stakeholders looking to improve supply chain performance and is also valuable for researchers interested in the development and application of multimodal freight fluidity performance measures.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Kruse, C. J., Mitchell, K. N., DiJoseph, P. K., Kang, D. H., Schrank, D. L., & Eisele, W. L.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Kruse, C James||Mitchell, Kenneth N||DiJoseph, Patricia K||Kang, Dong Hun||Schrank, David L||Eisele, William L

publication date

  • December 2018