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port management


Lamar University’s new Center for Port Management prepares today’s port and terminal management professionals for tomorrow’s industry challenges and opportunities. The center’s flagship offering is the fully online Master of Science degree in Port and Terminal Management. The 12-course program blends theory and practice through course content and delivery, taught in equal measure by industry experts sourced globally, and faculty from Lamar’s Business College and Industrial Engineering Department.

“Throughout my 40-year career, the port industry has sought an advanced degree in port management that would recognize the exceptional nature of this critical profession, as well as advancing its practice,” says Erik Stromberg, the center’s first executive director. “As an industry veteran, my focus is on the application of knowledge to the practice of port management.

“Historically, port managers prepared for their significant responsibilities through on-the-job training and continuing education as offered by trade organizations, such as AAPA,” says Stromberg in reference to the American Association of Port Authorities, which he ran for 10 years. “The required set of skills and knowledge could take years to develop, but even then, it would typically address the manager’s functional focus and not the broad spectrum of port authority roles and responsibilities.

“Our port master’s degree program spans the many interdisciplinary skill sets a senior port leader needs to understand and apply. Management skills training in leadership, team building and decision-making are included in the curriculum. The curriculum also addresses one of the most important port management responsibilities, which is to balance the public and private sector roles a port authority must play.”

Stromberg continues, “Importantly, one of the very important if less obvious roles our port industry veterans play in delivering course content is to convey the normative value of port management. Port authorities operate as a public enterprise, requiring management acumen and business-like efficiency in the delivery of public goods—jobs, economic development and waterborne commerce. There is a tangible aspect of port management that prides itself on generating public benefits, as well as achieving commercial success that engenders a strident dedication to the craft.”

The center’s program also provides continuing education to Texas and West Gulf ports and terminal managers, primarily through the SE Texas Waterways Advisory Council’s Education, Research and Workforce Development Committee. Two very successful programs—“Women in Transportation Management—Ports and Terminals” and the annual “Hurricane Planning” workshop/webinar—recently concluded.

The third aspect of the center’s activities lies in sponsoring industry-relevant research. Most of the supported projects have successfully facilitated safer and more efficient waterborne transportation and waterway utilization. These projects, along with information about the center’s education and training programs, can be found at



Editor’s note-In this exclusive interview with Erik Stromberg, executive director of Lamar University’s Center for Port Management, we discover how the center’s advanced and continuing education programs are taking professional development in the port industry to the next level. 

Global Trade: What can professionals anticipate with a master’s degree in Port and Terminal Management from Lamar University?

Erik Stromberg: In brief, the goals for our graduates are, one, to improve their management skills and perform their current job better and, two, to increase their opportunities to grow their port and terminal management responsibilities. 

Allow me to step back and talk about public port management, and the skills and aptitudes required for success. I should say that I am more familiar with the challenges of managing a public port than a private marine terminal, but there is overlap, as well as a significant difference. 

Both require, to varying degrees, management skills and familiarity with the technical aspects of the industry, from planning, engineering and risk-based property and asset management, to business development; from government and public relations to terminal operations, safety and security; from IT and digital technologies to HR. In other words, both public and private port managers need to know how to run a business. While most port authorities lease out terminals and other facilities, many have decided their best interest lies in operating the terminals they own.  

The most profound distinction, however, between a port authority and a private terminal operating company lies in their ultimate stakeholders. Private terminals are owned by family, management or investors, or if publicly traded, its shareholders. A port authority is a public enterprise ultimately owned by and accountable to the taxpayer.  

The public aspect of managing the port creates a special challenge. It is my view that most public port industry leaders think of themselves as business people doing the public’s business, rather than public administrators trying to run an organization like a business. This is why our program is supported by Lamar’s Business College, as well as our Industrial Engineering Department. But the public aspect of port management must be abided. It doesn’t guarantee success, but ignoring public concerns is a risky strategy. And for every port authority, there are multiple public constituencies, further complicating matters. 

Global Trade: Why should professionals pick this program to enhance their career?

Erik Stromberg: Simply put, there is no program devoted to the advanced education of port and marine terminal managers in the hemisphere. The asynchronous program is fully online, facilitating access by students from wherever they live. We have designed flexibility into the program to help our students accommodate a significant demand on their work and personal lives. 

Taking one course per term, it typically takes two years to complete. Our program is affordable, at just over $14,000 for the master’s degree. Furthermore, based on the MOU Lamar has with the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), students with the Association’s Professional Port Manager certification can waive up to 15 credit hours toward their master’s degree. 

Stepping back, a fundamental question is: “Why a master’s degree?” In the continuum of professional education and training, a master’s degree represents a commitment and a focus not available with continuing education or an undergraduate degree. Our students enter Lamar’s advanced education in port management program seeking the “mastery” of a set of interdisciplinary skills and knowledge for the purpose of their application in the management of ports and marine terminals. In other words, theoretical study is valued to the extent it can be applied in practice. 

Our online platform facilitates not only access by working professionals entering the program as students, but also to the world of industry experts who sign up as adjunct faculty eager to teach what they’ve learned throughout their careers. Our students come from within the port and terminal operating industry seeking to enhance career opportunities, along with those from outside the port industry wanting to enter the exciting field of port and terminal management. Lamar’s interactive, online learning platform also facilitates the ability of students to learn from each other as well as from our faculty.

Global Trade: Can you briefly review what the student should expect in the way of course work?

Erik Stromberg: To start with, the 12-course program does not stretch the student’s quantitative skills (i.e., no calculus), but it’s still pretty intense. We have had exceptions, but one course per term seems to be enough for our working professional students to handle.   

The port master’s degree curriculum pulls in business and industrial engineering courses that provide both technical knowledge and “soft-skills,” management education. 

A summary of our degree program would mention the following:

-comprehensive and in-depth study and understanding of the public port and private marine terminal operating industry and the environment in which it operates

-analytical and decision-making skills

-leadership and team building skills

-lessons learned and best practices from industry experts, including student/faculty and student/student interaction 

-online, asynchronous learning

-latest advances in technology and management 

-focused and facilitated study opportunity of port and terminal operating industry

Global Trade: How does Lamar select the faculty for this program?

Erik Stromberg: Industry experts serving as adjunct faculty members teach fully half of our 12-course curriculum. I guide our students through Introduction to Port Management with a preponderance of guest lecturers. These industry veterans have an abiding interest not only in sharing their knowledge and experiences, but also continuing to learn and explore with our working professional students. 

The remaining courses are taught by faculty from the Industrial Engineering Department and the College of Business. Every course is populated with guest lectures given by subject matter experts from outside the university. 

Besides my Introduction to Port Management class, courses taught by our adjunct faculty are: Strategic and Facility Planning; Security and Emergency Management; Port Asset and Property Management; and Freight Transportation Logistics. Guest lecturers are used throughout the curriculum. 

The center’s Advisory Board members play a very helpful role in both serving at times as guest lecturers, as well as suggestions for curriculum content and adjunct faculty.

Global Trade: Have Lamar Business and Industrial Engineering faculty been able to create or adapt existing graduate-level courses to accommodate the needs of a port management curriculum?

Erik Stromberg: Absolutely. With the addition of industry experts serving as guest lecturers, these courses blend theory and practice. Included are the following courses: Capital Planning and Implementation; Legal Framework of Ports and Trade; and Marine Terminal Operations.

Global Trade: How is Lamar University handling challenges with the pandemic while still providing educational excellence?

Erik Stromberg: The current crisis has disrupted the traditional classroom experience. However, the pandemic has spotlighted successful, remote learning platforms, including Lamar’s, which has been utilized for over a decade.

Given that access to potential students as well as adjunct faculty and guest lecturers is facilitated by online learning, the challenges presented by the pandemic have been minimized. 

Center for Port Management Students Speak for Themselves

“I find the program challenging and providing new skills for how I manage my port projects and my decision-making process. I already see the value of the program as a tool to advance my career.” 

-Ron Coddington, port engineer, the Port of Palm Beach

“It made me a better manager, broadening my perspective and forcing me to think more analytically about the issues I regularly deal with.” 

-Larry Kelley, CEO, Port of Port Arthur (and the program’s first graduate)

“It is the only port-specific graduate program in the country that is focused on developing the interdisciplinary skills required of effective and impactful port managers. This means that students are exposed to every aspect of the port business, from business administration to engineering, economics to operations, and everything in between.” 

-Sean Fairchild, U.S. citizen currently working as a port industry consultant in Bogota, Colombia


To learn more about Lamar University’s Center for Port Management master’s degree program, and other continuing education opportunities, visit management.


Port-Side Energy Debate: Propane vs. Electric

Ports and terminals across the country are looking for opportunities to streamline their operation, reduce their environmental impact, and increase efficiency, which leads to a common question: What alternative energy keeps ports productive while cutting emissions?

Both propane and electric solutions offer certain operational benefits. For example, electric equipment produces zero emissions during operation and offers reliable performance when handling lighter loads. Propane equipment, on the other hand, is popular for its nonstop power, resiliency, and versatility to handle loads of all sizes.

It’s important to consider which energy source can help you get the most out of your workday and your equipment. Propane-powered equipment can help ports maximize efficiency, while still allowing port crews to be proud stewards of the environment. And because propane is a primary energy source and electricity is a secondary energy source, it takes more energy to produce electricity, impacting its cleanliness, efficiency, and cost.

A transparent look at site-to-source emissions

As ports and terminals seeking reduced emissions and better air quality flee from traditional fuels, like gasoline and diesel, many have a tendency to adopt an electrify-everything mindset — but a low-emissions future doesn’t need to be an electric-only one.

Propane presents another alternative to traditional diesel-powered equipment — and with a more transparent emissions profile than electricity. Many material handling professionals I speak to are surprised to learn that propane is actually cleaner than electric when you take site-to-source emissions into account.

While it’s true electric-powered equipment and vehicles produce zero emissions during operation, it’s full emissions profile and impact is often overlooked, including emissions produced in the creation and transmission of electric batteries. Additionally, you have to consider the emissions produced at coal-fired plants where electricity is generated, as well as the emissions during transportation to the port. And because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers electric batteries a hazardous material, you can’t simply dispose of them without severely impacting the environment. Instead, they have specific handling and disposal regulations attached.

Propane, on the other hand, is an approved clean alternative fuel under the Clean Air Act of 1990 and, according to data from the Propane Education & Research Council, using propane produces 43 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than using an equivalent amount of electricity generated from the U.S. grid

Additionally, renewable propane is an emerging energy source that will be able to offer clean, low-emissions operations. Renewable propane is a byproduct of the renewable diesel and jet fuel production process, which converts plant and vegetable oils, waste greases, and animal fat into energy. Because it’s produced from renewable, raw materials, renewable propane is even cleaner than conventional propane — and far cleaner than other energy sources. And considering its chemical structure and physical properties are the same as traditional propane, renewable propane can be used for all the same applications.

Unmatched performance for maximum productivity

We all know that crews working port-side don’t have time to waste during the workday. According to IHS Markit’s Global Trade Atlas (GTA) Forecasting, North American seaports handled 2.34 billion metric tons of goods, valued at $2.53 trillion. In order to keep pace with the demanding workload and efficiently perform heavy-duty tasks, crews need powerful, versatile equipment.

Battery-powered forklifts and electric vehicles can be a compelling solution when handling lighter tasks, but performance in a port setting is really where propane sets itself apart. Propane offers the versatility to handle virtually every workload size and most notably, dominates the middle and top weight classes of forklifts with 90 percent of Class 4 and 5 forklifts being powered by propane. This means you can look to propane for a one-fuel solution, plus you won’t have to schedule downtime for recharging, like with electric.

Reliability when you need it most

Port cities are historic, which often means they’re relying on much older energy grids. But because of their relentless workload, it’s important for port operations to be as independent and autonomous with their energy source as possible. Fortunately, propane is a dependable, resilient energy source that can be stored on-site so it’s always there when you need it.

To learn more about the benefits of port-side propane equipment, visit


Matt McDonald is the director of off-road business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at

Qatar Trade Summit

Qatar Trade Summit: Innovation and Disruption Revolutionising the Logistics Industry in Qatar.

Valuable insights into the future of Qatar’s Trade and investments sector aligned with logistics and supply chain in the region will be showcased at the exclusive Qatar Trade Summit scheduled to take place from 25th to 27th November 2019 in Doha, Qatar, The summit is Qatar’s only event focusing on the nation’s economic diversification plans and progress with strategic plans on becoming the regions logistics hub. 

The summit will strive to examine the nation’s potential on becoming the region’s economic powerhouse via 3 days of deliberations on sea ports development, Shipping and Air Cargo industry, future of logistics and supply chain as well as a final day dedicated to engage in interactive sessions on Qatar’s trade and investment prospects. Attending delegates and partners will get a first-hand knowledge of Qatar’s logistics and supply chain industry, the planned development of sea ports to support regional growth, the influence of shipping air cargo and the free zones in opening up opportunities for regional and foreign companies to invest and do business in Qatar” stated Allan Martin, Communications Director, Qatar Trade Summit. 

All aspects of the shipping industry, port development, air cargo, supply chain and logistics and trade and investments will be discussed at this summit. The event will engage the entire ecosystem of the logistics business in Qatar focusing on procurement, forwarding, planning, new business, infrastructure and investments. The theme of the summit is to explore the scale of innovation and disruption which is revolutionizing the logistics industry in Qatar and the nation’s keen intent on diversifying into a thriving economy prior to the prestigious FIFA 2022 football world cup taking place in Qatar. Qatar Trade Summit will directly impact a comprehensive range of sectors in the region and will cover solutions and products to uplift these sectors. The areas covered will be Ship building, Port management, Port Infrastructure development, Air Cargo expansion, Logistics and supply chain solutions and the investments and business opportunities in Qatar. 

The summit’s profile includes key dignitaries such as H.E. Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways, Capt. Abdulla Al-Khanji, CEO, Mwani Qatar, Qatar, Mr. Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai, President & CEO, MILAHA, Qatar, Mr. Lim Meng Hui, CEO, Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), Mr. James Baker, Editor, Lloyd’s List Containers, UK, Mr. Glyn Hughes, Global Head of IATA Cargo, Switzerland, Mr. Turhan Özen, Chief Cargo Officer, Turkish Airlines, Mr. Amadou Diallo, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding, Middle East & Africa, Mr. Bertrand Maltaverne, Solutions Consultant, Ivalua, Austria, Mr. Fikret Ersoy, MD, BDP International, Middle East, Turkey & Africa from Qatar and across the globe who will be presenting at the conference and the summit will also host some of the world’s best solution providers and also invite attendees from leading government and private entities from Qatar. 

The Qatar Trade Summit will also feature one of the most exhaustive and inclusive knowledge sessions seen at a national summit. The conference will include 19 topics spread across 4 sessions, and two key workshops all scheduled over 3 days of high level networking and interaction. Qatar Trade Summit will assist in realising Qatar’s ambitions to become the logistics and trade leader in the Middle East. 


About Organizer: © Qatar Trade Summit | Allan Martin | Email: | | UK Tel: +44 20 3807 8492 | India Mobile: +91 96061 70760 Qatar Contact: Saf | Tel: +974 33834548 | +974 66947607 | LinkedIn: Qatar Trade Summit | twitter: @tradeqatar