Vol I, Issue 4  April 2005

Interim Report Looks at Transportation Demand on Upper Mississippi-Illinois Waterways
An interim NETS report examining the demand for transportation of corn on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterways from 1991-2002 was released on March 14.The study emphasizes that both prices and shipping patterns reflect strong seasonality, though patterns differ on different parts of the system. For most pools, the researchers found a positive simple correlation between monthly shipping prices and the monthly quantity of corn shipped.

The functional form used in this study was designed to allow for the identification of the demand for transportation. Using this form, the researchers were able to measure a statistically significant inverse relationship between the prices charged to transport corn on the river and the willingness to offer corn to carriers on the river. These elasticities, however, were determined to be quite small. The paper concludes by reviewing the difference between short run and long run elasticities of demand and by providing some reasons to expect that long run elasticities, which were not measured in the study, should be higher than the short run elasticities that were measured.

“This study is of interest for two very different reasons,” concluded lead researcher Kenneth Boyer, PhD, of Michigan State University. “First, there is ongoing interest in making physical improvements to this particular waterway system, and elasticities of demand are an important element in the valuation of the benefits of infrastructure development. Second, of more technical interest, are lessons that can be learned about practical techniques for freight demand estimation.”

Fact Sheet | Paper (pdf, 948KB)

Bruce Lambert Joins NETS Team
Bruce Lambert a Senior Economist at the U.S. Army Engineer Institute for Water Resources has joined the NETS research team. Mr. Lambert’s specialty is developing economic data and tools to examine the role of Corps investments on port facilities.

Mr. Lambert’s previous positions before joining IWR included stints at the Federal Highway Administration, Standard and Poor’s DRI (now Global Insight) and six years at the Port of Long Beach as the Port’s Trade Analyst. He has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Louisiana State University and a Master’s of Science Degree from the University of Tennessee.

Mr. Lambert is currently working on this NETS studies: The Assessment and Development of U.S. Multiport Model.

Biography: Bruce Lambert ( pdf, 25 KB)

NETS Update Presented at National Academy of Sciences Meeting
On March 17 NETS Program Manager Keith Hofseth provided an update on developments in the NETS program to the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee to Review the Corps of Engineers Restructured Upper Mississippi River Illinois Waterway Navigation System Feasibility Study. Hofseth provided an overview of the NETS program with a focus on projects that have direct applicability to the Upper Mississippi study.

(ppt, 2.88 MB)

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Navigation Economic Technologies Program, US Army Corps of Engineers