Offshore port service concepts: Classification and economic feasibility

Jonghoe Kim, James R. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Most prevalent among the approaches to address the ever increasing demands for port capacity are the construction of new berths, installation of faster cranes and optimization of existing resources. A less common approach is to employ offshore port service concepts. Here, we endeavor to provide a complete survey of such nontraditional offshore service concepts and demonstrate that all, except a few very unusual concepts, can be well classified into one of thirty two structures or their combinations. Advantages, disadvantages and the container handling chain are discussed. We identify which of these structures can provide any of six possible operational modes. We next focus on a subset of the thirty two structures called the mobile harbor. This concept has recently been proposed and shares some similarities with midstream operation in Hong Kong. We endeavor to address the fundamental question: "Should such a concept be implemented?" We develop an estimate of the cost per unit threshold below which this concept will be viable. The per unit cost estimate of current MH designs is within about 6% of the economic viability threshold for traditional operation in Hong Kong. Other operational modes are not as favorable. As our focus is on the feasibility of the operational paradigm, we do not here address technology issues except to note ongoing efforts to resolve technology hurdles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-245
Number of pages32
JournalFlexible Services and Manufacturing Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Container transport
  • Economic analysis
  • Midstream operations
  • Mobile harbor


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