Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Industrial Engineering


Gregory S. Parnell

Committee Member

Edward Pohl

Second Committee Member

Kim Lascola Needy

Third Committee Member

John Aloysius


Decision Analysis, Logistics, Maritime Transportation, Multiple-Objective Decision Analysis, Port Selection, Supply Chain Management


Ports are essential for maritime transportation and global supply chains since they are nodes that connect the sea- and land-based modes of transportation. With containerization and supply chains stimulating global trade, ports are challenged to adjust to changes in the market to create value to their customers. Therefore, this dissertation research focuses on the container port selection decision analysis to provide information to help shipping lines select the best port for their shipping networks. Since the problem is complex, dynamic, and involves multiple and conflicting criteria, the research proposes to use the multi-objective decision analysis with Value-Focused Thinking approach. The first chapter analyzes the port selection literature by timeline, journals, geographical location, and focus of the studies. Also, the research identifies the multiple criteria used in the port selection literature, as well as the models and approaches used for the analysis of the port selection decision problem. The second chapter develops a container port selection decision model for shipping lines using ports in West Africa. This model uses a multi-attribute value theory with valued-focused thinking and Alternative-Focused Thinking methodologies. The third chapter develops a port selection decision support system for shipping lines to select the best port in the U.S. Gulf Coast considering the impact of the Panama Canal’s expansion. The decision support system uses the multi-objective decision analysis with Value-Focused Thinking approach, incorporating the opinion of an industry expert for the development of the value model. It also includes a cost model to quantify the cost of the alternatives. A Monte Carlo simulation is used to help decision makers understand the value and cost risks of the decision. The contribution of this research is that it provides a tool to decision makers of the shipping lines industry to improve the decision making process to select the port that will add the most affordable value to the global supply chains of their customers. In addition, researchers can use the proposed methodology for future port selection studies in other regions and from the perspectives of other stakeholders.