Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Transportation Planning & Management

Committee Chairperson

Mehdi Azimi

Committee Member 1

Carol Lewis

Committee Member 2

Yi Qi

Committee Member 3

Ismet Sahin


Intermodal System, Maritime Ports, Port of Houston, Rail Freight Feasibility Analysis, Rail Terminal, Vessel-Rail Intermodal Transportation


Freight transportation is a crucial element of the economy and development of regions. Still, its dramatic growth in the road sector is rapidly offsetting the benefits through such impacts as congestion, noise, pollution, and environmental damage. Alternative transportation solutions such as a combined transportation network can help to reduce these impacts. Container rail-water intermodal transportation broadly means with the premise of rail transportation and water transportation as the primary, compatible with other modes of transportation to accomplish the complete transfer of the containers. As a fast-growing port, the Port of Houston Authority has grown to be very important because of its large tonnage handling capacity and its impact on the nation's economy. With the growth in the economy which results in increased port activities, the port of Houston is gradually approaching capacity and sees the need for expansion of infrastructure needed for service efficiency provided. This study aims to identify the critical components of a vessel-rail intermodal system, analyze the significance of each of them, compare the competitiveness of the Port of Houston among the similar ports, pinpoint the gap between the existing condition and state of the art practices. The report will also focus on the feasibility of the Rail Intermodal System compared to the truck freight of the Port of Houston. Based on the existing intermodal system of the Port of Houston, the report will help identify critical factors and recommend processes that will promote the competitiveness of the system in handling and servicing future economic growth.