The Port of Dover has successfully garnered the highest rating possible for a port from state-sponsored technology strategy agency Innovate UK. It was made possible through collaborative efforts with the University of Kent’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). The project earning the rating relates to efforts to reduce congestion.
According to Innovate UK, KTP is a scheme that “helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow” by connecting them “with an academic and research organization and a graduate.” as was the case with the University of Kent’s Kent Business School (KBS) through its graduate, Dr. Cliff Preston, and the Port of Dover. The project took off back in 2016 as an effort to help the latter with data modeling and simulation.
The port’s congestion problems have sparked the collaborative effort for the 3 institutions starting with an initiative to help the port predict traffic volumes through better estimates of vehicle influx. This is seen first by ensuring there is enough staff on site to check the number of trucks arriving. Queues are inevitable but minimizing risk has become one of the focal points of interest.
Various sources provide data apart from the staff appointed to process vehicle influx. Checking live traffic data helps in noting what time of the day trucks arrive en masse, the number of trucks arriving simultaneously and what day of the week garners the most trucking arrivals. Coupled with comparing data gathered from past traffic levels, it helped the port lower usage of the Traffic Assessment Project (TAP), or the project that “sees freight traffic held outside Dover by a series of traffic lights.”
With a port that handles about 122 million pounds of trade annually, analyzing risk factors that might contribute to lower profits and worsen business operating conditions resulted in formulating solutions custom-fitted to the port. This way, the port ensures an improved manner of movement of goods into the UK or out to Europe.
The positive results garnered from the port-based initiative has spurned application in the Dover Western Docks Revival project (DWDR). KTP’s quantitative methods turned out to be applicable in the planned cargo terminal. Once feasible, DWDR will make the Port of Dover more efficient in handling cargo and make its facilities more effective.
For data-based successes that the triumvirate’s initiatives poured into the project, it received an “Outstanding” rating from Innovate UK. This rating was one of the most competitive and stringent ratings that the firm could offer and only 10% of all KTP projects in the UK attain a rating this high.