considerable. Its mission includes balancing the demands of trade with the maintenance of a healthy environment for other marine activities in the harbor and along the coast. The department reviews plans for the expansion of existing terminals, the location of new terminals, proposed bridges, and vessel anchorage areas. The discharge of vessel ballast water into local waters is another concern of this department that has a direct effect on vessel cargo operations.
To make good decisions, the department needs real-time data on tides and currents as well as improved hydrographic data on bottom types, accurate location of the shoreline, and shallow water depths. Thus, the use of advanced information systems would enhance its decision making regarding the environmental parameters within which the port must operate. Port efficiency depends on how well trade activities can meet the challenges of environmental concerns.