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PUBLICATION NOTICE: Towing Vessel Delays and Barge Lane Navigability along the Houston Ship Channel, Texas

US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Published Jan. 16, 2020

 

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.21079/11681/35182

Report Number: ERDC/CHL TR-20-1

Title: Towing Vessel Delays and Barge Lane Navigability along the Houston Ship Channel, Texas

By Kenneth N. Mitchell, Patricia K. DiJoseph, Brandan M. Scully, and Marin M. Kress

Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited January 2020

Abstract: This project used historic vessel position reports to analyze barge lane traffic navigability and towing vessel traffic interaction with deep draft (“bluewater”) vessels in the Houston Ship Channel, Texas, during September and December 2015. Vessel position reports were collected through the U.S. Coast Guard Nationwide Automatic Identification System (AIS) and accessed through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers AIS Analysis Package software. The motivation for this study was a request from the Galveston District for assistance as part of the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Channel Improvement Project. Results indicate that, generally, towing vessels confine themselves to the designated barge shelves on the outer edges of the main channel approximately 65% of the time and venture into the main (center) portion of the deep-draft channel approximately 35% of the time. This study also explored the relationship between meeting events (where a bluewater vessel is meeting a towing vessel moving in the opposite direction) and the linear consistency of towing vessel tracks within the barge lanes along straight segments of the Houston Ship Channel. Preliminary results suggest that encounter events do influence towing vessel behavior, as measured through vessel track linearity.

30 pages / 1.43 Mb


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