Modeling US coal export planning decisions

Michael Kuby, S. Ratick, J. Osleeb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


Develops a network-optimization planning methodology for US coal port infrastructure. The model analyzes the economic and geographic impacts of harbor deepening and offshore topping-off, improvements which are considered essential for the US to maintain export levels in the face of lower-cost competition because they enable loading of the largest coal supercolliers. The Coal Logistics System (COLS) is a mixed-integer programming model that captures the interaction between coal types and origins, rail and barge networks, ports and intermodal terminals, economies of scale in ocean shipping, foreign demand for steam and metallurgical coal, and environmental regulation. A base case is calibrated for 1985 in which the model predicts the throughput at each of five major ports within 10% of actual historical levels. Four scenarios evaluate the effects of dredging at Baltimore and Norfolk harbors and of an offshore topping-off facility in Delaware Bay on the basis of systemwide cost savings and interport competition. Scenario results indicate that coal traffic alone is sufficient to justify the channel deepening work recently completed at Norfolk or underway at Baltimore, but perhaps not both. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnals - Association of American Geographers
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)


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