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Fall 2011 - 61050 - PA680PA - Policy Research Project

Assessing the Future Role of TX Ports in the Emerging U.S./S.America /Asia Triangle

Instructor(s): Boske, Leigh B.
Unique Number: 61050
Day & Time: T 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.122
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Section Description

This PRP will assist the Texas Department of Transportation in assessing the growing role of Texas ports in the emerging U.S./South America/Asia trade triangle. In 2009, U.S.-South America trade amounted to $128 billion, U.S.-Asia trade $627 billion and South America-Asia trade $96 billion. In terms of bilateral trade between individual countries, the United States is Brazil’s largest trading partner, and China’s second-largest. And Brazil-China trade has experienced one of the largest growth rates among all trading partners in recent years. The composition of this back-and-forth trade is likely to change over time as South America tries to become less dependent on the export of raw materials and China shifts from low-value manufacturing to high-technology production.

The Panama Canal is located at the crossroads of these and other trade flows. Eighty countries, operating along 160 trade lanes, use the canal to gain access from Asia to the East Coast of the United States, from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast of South America, from Asia to the East Coast of South America, and from Europe to the West Coast of the United States. These trade lanes often intersect at Caribbean hub ports for the purpose of transferring east-west transported cargo to a variety of north-south destinations. The expansion of the Panama Canal, which is planned for completion in 2014, will further reshape trade lanes by enabling the transit of much larger ocean vessels. It also will likely lead to the re-deployment of existing vessels on east-west routes to north-south routes, and to the need for significant port and landside infrastructure investments to accommodate these greater volumes of traffic.
The State of Texas and its ports face unique opportunities to take advantage of these developments. Because of their central location in this emerging trade triangle, Texas ports are in a position to:
  • Capture a larger share of both Asian and South American merchandise imports serving Texas consumers;
  • Expand export markets for Texas businesses; and
  • Emerge as global hubs for processing, assembly, and shipping goods to markets throughout the United States, Caribbean, and Latin America.
To ascertain the ability of Texas ports to succeed in these endeavors, PRP students will examine and evaluate the following:
  • Panama Canal operations and strategies;
  • Trade lanes within the emerging trade triangle;
  • Ocean vessel deployment and orders for new vessels;
  • Liner services within trade lanes;
  • Port expansion plans in Texas, Asia, and South America;
  • Regional landside transportation infrastructure and logistics investments; and the
  • Evolving dynamics of this triangular trade.
A series of guest lectures are planned for the first semester.
Fluency in Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese is welcome, but not required.
Student travel is anticipated, but the extent of travel is not presently known.