Development of an Economic Framework to Evaluate Resilience in Recovering from Major Port Disruptions

Project Number


Project Summary

Ports play a vital role in a nation’s economic well-being. They represent the major portal for its material exchanges with the rest of the world and, in some cases, with other regions within its own borders. Serving as a critical element of the nation’s supply-chain, a disruption of a major port can reverberate throughout the entire economy. An increasing number of port disruptions have taken place in recent years, stemming from various causes such as labor dispute, natural disasters, and technological accidents. Moreover, ports are a prime target for terrorist attacks, which can be fine-tuned to yield the maximum disruption at the port site and beyond. Many studies have estimated the direct and indirect impacts of port disruptions and found them to be quite significant. However, very few studies have adequately factored in all of the possible forms of resilience that could mute these losses by using remaining resources more efficiently or by recovering more rapidly. Even fewer studies have focused on the development of an operational framework to facilitate the evaluation of the relative contributions of various potential resilience options at both the supplier-side and customer-side that can help reduce the potential economic impacts from port disruptions.

The objective of this proposed study is to develop an operational framework to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive list of relevant resilience options that can help ports and related businesses in the supply-chain recover more rapidly from port disruptions. We will extend and adapt a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model developed by the research team, and apply it to quantify the relative contributions of various resilience options in mitigating potential economic impacts from port disruptions. The U.S. Geological Survey Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Tsunami Scenario that impacts the major seaports along the California coast will be used as a case study to illustrate how we apply the economic resilience framework to assess the applicability and effectiveness of various economic resilience tactics. We will focus our case analysis on three major ports in California: Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, and Port of Oakland.

Project Status


Project Report



Topic Area

Sustainable Urban Freight

P.I. Name & Address

Research Assistant Professor, Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California
3335 S. Figueroa Street
Unit A, 100D
Los Angeles, CA 90089-7273
United States


Research Professor, Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) 230
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States

Funding Source


Total Project Cost


Agency ID or Contract Number

Grant No: 65A0533

Start and End Dates

8/15/2015 to 8/14/2016