University partnership helps Port of Dover cut queues and boost efficiency

University partnership helps Port of Dover cut queues and boost efficiency

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University of Kent and the Dover Harbour Board has helped reduce traffic congestion, boost efficiency and cut costs at the Port of Dover.
 
The project started in 2016 when the Port of Dover, which handles £122bn-worth of UK trade annually, appointed Kent Business School graduate, Dr Cliff Preston, to help it use data modelling and simulation software to operate more effectively.
 
Cliff’s work focused on several areas, including improving how the port predicts likely traffic volumes to ensure it has enough staff on hand to process vehicles through the port and so minimise the risk of queues forming in and around Dover.
 
By improving its use of data from various sources, such as live traffic data on the motorways and past traffic levels at similar times, it has reduced the use of Traffic Assessment Project, which sees freight traffic held outside Dover by a series of traffic lights.
 
As well as reducing the impact that freight traffic has on Dover and its residents, it also means the port is able to ensure goods can move into the UK, or over to Europe, more efficiently.
 
The traffic simulation model is now also used to help predict the requirement of the French border authorities operating in Dover to ensure traffic through the port is kept moving at all stages.
 
The quantitative methods used in the KTP have also been applied in part of the port’s substantive Dover Western Docks Revival project, in analysing the space and plant requirements of the new cargo terminal.
 
The success of the project has led to it being awarded a grade of ‘Outstanding’ by the KTP grading panel of Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
 
The KTP between the University and Dover Harbour Board was set up by Kent Innovation and Enterprise. The Port of Dover has now sponsored an MSc graduate in the School of Physical Sciences to work at the organisation over the next 12 months.