Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Industrial Engineering


Heather Nachtmann

Committee Member

Justin Chimka

Second Committee Member

Edward Pohl

Third Committee Member

Suzanna Long


Cargo Prioritization, Disruption Response, Freight Transportation, Heuristic Optimization, Inland Waterway, Maritime


Motivated by the critical role of the inland waterways in the United States' transportation system, this dissertation research focuses on pre- and post- disruption response support when the inland waterway navigation system is disrupted by a natural or manmade event. Following a comprehensive literature review, four research contributions are achieved. The first research contribution formulates and solves a cargo prioritization and terminal allocation problem (CPTAP) that minimizes total value loss of the disrupted barge cargoes on the inland waterway transportation system. It is tailored for maritime transportation stakeholders whose disaster response plans seek to mitigate negative economic and societal impacts. A genetic algorithm (GA)-based heuristic is developed and tested to solve realistically-sized instances of CPTAP. The second research contribution develops and examines a tabu search (TS) heuristic as an improved solution approach to CPTAP. Different from GA's population search approach, the TS heuristic uses the local search to find improved solutions to CPTAP in less computation time. The third research contribution assesses cargo value decreasing rates (CVDRs) through a Value-focused Thinking based methodology. The CVDR is a vital parameter to the general cargo prioritization modeling as well as specifically for the CPTAP model for inland waterways developed here. The fourth research contribution develops a multi-attribute decision model based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process that integrates tangible and intangible factors in prioritizing cargo after an inland waterway disruption. This contribution allows for consideration of subjective, qualitative attributes in addition to the pure quantitative CPTAP approach explored in the first two research contributions.