To promote workforce development for the maritime transportation system industry, conduct research to foster sustainable, secure, and resilient maritime and port infrastructure and operations, and provide independent testing and evaluation of maritime sensor technologies, through establishment of the University of South Florida (USF) Center for Maritime and Port Studies (CMPS) within the USF College of Marine Science, with collaborators in the USF College of Public Health, the USF College of Engineering, the USF College of Business, and the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability.
It is estimated that 50% of the world’s population lives in a coastal zone, primarily due to the proximity of maritime transportation and port facilities which are conduits for 90% of global commerce and 95% of US international trade. As the Florida, US and global economy grows, and with the expansion of the Panama Canal, port facilities around the Gulf of Mexico, the southeast Atlantic seaboard, and the Inland Waterways of the central US will require increased capacity and an expanded, well-trained workforce. Expansion of port infrastructure and related activities must be accomplished in a secure, sustainable, and resilient manner. New sensor technologies developed for maritime and port security and environmental safety/protection will require assessment to assure their reliability.
The CMPS will address these needs by: (1) providing on-line education, training, and continuing professional development for careers in the maritime transportation industry; (2) conducting research on security, sustainability, and resilience of the maritime transportation system and related activities; and (3) providing rigorous, independent testing and evaluation of maritime security and environmental monitoring technologies. These capabilities will be developed from our extensive experience in these areas, including our 20-year-plus collaboration with the local port and maritime transportation community, our work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Coastal Management (OCM) on their Port Tomorrow Resilience Planning Tool (see http://webqa.coast.noaa.gov/port), and our 15-year experience leading the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (http://www.act-us.info).
Our vision is that USF and CMPS will develop into an internationally recognized provider of maritime education and research services with a growing list of collaborators from public and private institutions around the state and the globe.