National Science Foundation
Texas Tech University
Presently, a large percentage of cotton that is produced in this region is ginned and then shipped to Fort Worth, Texas where it is warehoused prior to shipping, often in the form of an overseas export. This shipped cotton often consists of multiple grades tailored to meet the customers’ demands. In this present arrangement, however, there is considerable material handling cost as the cotton is stacked and unstacked several times before reaching its final destination. As an alternative, the option of warehousing the cotton in the South Plains region by grade up until it is shipped to its final destination would eliminate much of the present material handling effort. The attractiveness of this option is further heighted by the ports-to-planes effort of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the development of white ports in several coastal cities in Mexico. In particular, transportation corridors between the US and Mexico are being developed through which product may pass efficiently prior to being shipped to China and other eastern countries. The warehousing strategies for baled cotton reflect those developed 50+ years ago when cotton was wholly owned by the producer and shipped domestically. We will investigate modifications to the current warehousing and transportation strategies towards the goal of reducing material handling effort and increasing throughput levels.