April 2013

Are you interested in transportation, sustainability, and the economy?

We are looking for highly qualified UW-Madison graduate students to assist in our Center’s multimodal transportation research efforts. Research topics range from transportation policy, logistics, market development, economic development, the new energy economy, environmental justice, multimodal freight corridor development, asset management, livability, and recycled materials. Students will have the opportunity to develop expertise across a range of transportation modes as well with a variety of analytical approaches. Summer and academic-year positions are available.

How to Apply

Send a statement of your skills and interests, along with your resume and transcripts to Greg Waidley (gwaidley@engr.wisc.edu).

Eighty-eight percent of Wisconsin exporters have fewer than 500 employees. Their small size means that requisitioning entire shipping containers, also known as ISO containers, is often inefficient. However, the use of empty containers returning to shipping terminals can save costs for both regional exporters and the carrier companies.

The Evaluating Export Container Pooling Options in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (CFIRE 05-13) project, led by CFIRE affiliate researcher Richard Stewart, analyzed a sample region in the Upper Midwest to identify the benefits of pooled ISO container use, as well as the barriers to implementing such a system.

Carriers’ use of personal or customer containers means that they are often unwilling to risk losing track of empty shipping containers, a growing problem alleviated by only allowing direct hauls. Corporate culture, competition, and changing trade patterns have also inhibited the development of ISO container pools.

One government agency tracks the use of ISO containers: the USDA’s Ocean Container Inventory. However, this inventory broadly collects data on the available containers, and the only available data for the study region came from Chicago and Minneapolis. In addition, containers used to transport food-grade agricultural products (e.g., for identity-preserved grains) are often not suitable for alternate uses.


Potential solutions to the lack of container availability involve sharing information on containers that are outside of terminals. This would let exporters in the region save money, while providing additional profits to the carriers. For example, the Cross-Town Improvement Project in Kansas City serves as an information program that helps reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and empty “bob-tail” moves by 8 to 13 percent. The challenge of this type of solution is the removal of information that could assist competitors, such as the original purpose and destination of the containers.

Future work in this field will focus on establishing cooperation between shipping companies, both maritime and railway. Outreach efforts have already included a seminar titled The State of Intermodal Transportation in Wisconsin, held by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.

To learn more about this project and to read the final report, visit the CFIRE 05-13 project page.

Wisconsin Wood Pellets Meeting

April 20, 2013

CFIRE geoeconomist Ben Zietlow recently attended and gave a presentation at the Wisconsin Wood Pellets Meeting, held on April 18, 2013 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. The meeting was a combination of public and private sector stakeholders: manufacturers, transportation companies, CFIRE, Wisconsin Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture Trade & Consumer Protection, Oneida County Economic Development Corporation, […]

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Sustainability Program Coordinator

April 10, 2013

King County Department of Transportation Seattle, WA The King County Department of Transportation is seeking a Sustainability Program Coordinator. This position will have leadership responsibility for the Metro Transit Division’s sustainability program and will be responsible for coordination, facilitation, communication, data analysis and documentation of a variety of activities for this program. For more information, […]

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Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials on the Great Lakes

April 5, 2013

The Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials handbook, published by the Great Lakes Commission and produced by the GLC’s Great Lakes Dredging Team, is now available.

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BU Summit Materials Now Available

April 3, 2013

The presentations and a summary of the Summit on the Beneficial Use of Dredged Materials are now available. This summit explored the use of dredged materials in state transportation projects and in other beneficial ways, as both a sustainable dredging strategy, and an opportunity to utilize a readily available commodity. Presentations and discussion focused on […]

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