Semil Shah

2005 Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 1, 2007
Graduate Degree:Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree:University of Michigan
Areas of interest:Municipal finance and infrastructure
Supervisors:Lowell Richards, Director of Port Planning and Development and Andrew Hargens, Senior Planner and Project Manager
Project Description:Semil's summer assignment at Massport— Massachusetts’ port authority—was well-timed. The Economic Planning & Development office began work on a long-term strategic plan for the Port of Boston. This project exposed him to many Massport departments to see how professionals from diverse backgrounds—planners, engineers, consultants, operators, developers, and so on—reach consensus on the management of port infrastructure. First, he assisted the senior project manager in charge of the strategic port plan. Second, he wrote a memo on whether it was feasible for Massport to cut emissions and improve air quality by providing container ships and cruise lines with shore-side electrical power, a transition some ships are making to reduce coal-based power generation. Third, he helped Massport’s Chief Development Officer develop a speech contrasting the maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Europe versus the U.S. Finally, his main contribution to Massport was to analyze how increased containerized trade between India and New England will grow over the next quarter-century and how it will affect the flow of commodities between these two markets. One issue facing U.S. container ports is how to plan for what many believe to be an inevitable surge in trade from India and the Indian subcontinent; his task was to figure out what exactly is in all those containers coming from India bound for New England, which shipping companies are carrying the cargo, and how growth within India could affect these trading routes.