The Economic Impacts of Terrorist Attacks

The Economic Impacts of Terrorist Attacks

Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Peter Gordon and James E. Moore II

Focussing on the economics of terrorism in the post 9/11 world, this book brings together original research based on the collaborative efforts of leading economists and planners. The authoritative and expert contributors use a variety of methodological approaches and apply them to different types of terrorist attacks (on airports, highways, seaports, electric power infrastructure, for example).

Chapter 12: Evaluating the Viability of 100 per cent Container Inspection at America’s Ports

Susan E. Martonosi, David S. Ortiz and Henry H. Willis

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, transport, environment, disasters, transport, politics and public policy, terrorism and security, urban and regional studies, transport


Susan E. Martonosi, David S. Ortiz and Henry H. Willis INTRODUCTION The US and the global economy are wholly dependent on overseas trade and the integrated transportation system that moves cargo around the world and throughout the US. Six million cargo containers, equivalent to over 11 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs),1 of goods arrive at United States seaports (Maritime Administration, 2002; Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2003). Approximately 90 per cent of global trade, including 75 per cent by value of non-North American trade to and from the US, is shipped via cargo container (Stana, 2004; Willis and Ortiz, 2004). The multi-modal structure of the containerized supply chain permits containers entering via a seaport to exploit the US road and rail network to penetrate deeply into the country. Any disruption to the steady flow of containers into and out of the United States can have a devastating economic impact. Estimations of the costs from a ten-day West Coast port lock-out ranged from $500 million to as high as $19 billion (Crist, 2003), and a simulation conducted by the consulting firm Booz-Allen-Hamilton estimated that the discovery of proposed attacks on selected ports could lead to nationwide shutdown of ports carrying economic effects up to $58 billion (Gerencser et al., 2003). Though these estimates are highly dependent upon underlying assumptions and subject to debate, the fact remains that there are many port disruption scenarios that would result in billions of dollars in damages. The volume of containers and the pervasiveness of...

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