Evaluating Export Container Pooling Options in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
December 2011
March 2012
June 2012
September 2012
December 2012
March 2013
Research Brief Final Report

Primary Investigator

Richard D. Stewart, Ph.D.
Old Main 135, P. 0. Box 2000
Superior, Wisconsin 54880-4500


The research team will research the issues that cause export container shortages in Minnesota and Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan by interviewing shippers, freight intermediaries and carriers in the Twin Cities, Fox River Valley, Warsaw, and Twin Port regions. The team will research best practices in other rural regions that have been effective in reducing export container shortages and assess their viability for the study area.


The objective of this proposed research is to investigate the issues that limit containerized exports from Minnesota and Wisconsin. This effort will catalog best practices in other regions and explore adopting those practices for the Upper Plaines States. Exporters in portions of the study area such as the Twin Cities, the Fox River Valley, Warsaw metropolitan area and the Twin Ports are put at a competitive disadvantage when they are unable to obtain containers at a reasonable cost for their exports. Many factors contribute to this market failure.


  1. Research best practices, such as container pooling, and load matching systems.
  2. in other regions and catalog the successful systems for applicability to the study region.
  3. Interview shippers, intermediaries and carriers in the study region about the issues in export container availability, estimate demand.
  4. Develop recommendations for adopting best practices to increase the availability of export containers in the study region.
  5. Outreach events will be scheduled to promote industry dialogue. The study results (both positive and negative) will be presented to the Intermodal Association of North America, Intermodal Association of Chicago, the Twin Cities Transportation Club, TRB and other industry association meetings, and other interested industry gatherings.

Project Information

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Dates: September 1, 2011 – September 1, 2012
  • Budget: $86,954 (with $6,000 in matching funds)
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student and multiple undergraduates
  • Modal Orientation: Rail, Highway, Intermodal
  • Project ID: CFIRE 05-13
Print Friendly