A Systems Approach to Caribbean Transport Planning

  • E.C. Emerson

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science (by Research)


This study shows how a system's approach was
used to produce a methodology which could be used to
derive a time-phased transport investment programme for the
countries within the Caribbean Free Trade Association
(CARIFTA). These comprise ten islands and mainland Guyana
which are largely served by a few ships under a Regional
Shipping Council. To enable port and shipping improvements
to be designed by the Council in collaboration with the port
authorities, this methodology combines a linear programming
transport model with a demand model (which is assumed to be
used by the island's economic planners).

A transport model was developed to minimise the
cost of inter-island transport operation by selecting a pattern of
regional shipping routes to permit the movement of intraregional
trade. The transport model only uses existing categories
of data provided by the demand model and the port and shipping
authorities to select :
the shipping routes to be followed
- the allocation of commodity flows to
each selected route
- the number of ship-journeys required
over each route.

The model also identifies the effect on the cost of transport
operation resulting from a change in shipping or port facilities.
In this methodology, this information is fed back to both port and
shipping authorities.

Trial runs with the model showed that while a direct
annual cost saving of only 5% could be achieved with current levels
of trade, it does show how the pattern of shipping routes can be
improved to avoid the need to invest in additional ships and port
facilities. Thus, a considerable longer term saving could result by using it as an investment planning model where time-phased
transport investment plans would be derived over a number of
time periods in conjunction with the economic plamers in the
Date of Award1972
Original languageEnglish


  • systems approach
  • Caribbean
  • transport planning

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