University Collaboration Aids Port of Dover


The Port of Dover has joined forces with the University of Kent to map traffic flows through Europe’s busiest ferry terminal.

Academics from the University’s Kent Business School and traffic specialists at the port have been analysing data understand vehicle movements through the Eastern docks.

The two-year project began last November when University of Kent graduate Cliff Preston joined the Port’s Business Optimisation team. Now, as the project marks its first anniversary, the port has made significant steps to better understand traffic flows and bottlenecks in order to support decisions on future requirements as well as predicting potential periods of congestion.

The combination of the new buffer zone – capable of holding 4km of traffic within the port – and the improved traffic forecasting resulted in the temporary traffic management system ‘Dover TAP’ being used 13 fewer times in April and May alone, compared to last year.

Port of Dover Chief Executive, Tim Waggott, said: “The University has been helping the Port gain a better understanding of the dynamics of traffic flow and how to handle these flows more effectively.

“Fluidity of movement and utilising the space we have as efficiently as possible is a fundamental aspect of master planning that benefits both our customers and the community.

“Along with our buffer zone investment and junction improvements to the A20 to support local regeneration and connectivity, we are doing more than ever to keep Dover town moving while 17% of the UK’s international trade passes through the Port, serving British businesses and consumers.”

Cliff Preston’s role with the port is the result of a programme known as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) – part-funded by Innovate UK – where a business can utilise academic excellence to up its game.

Lesley Chater, the University of Kent’s Senior Business Relationship Manager, said: “The KTP scheme has been operating for more than 40 years nationally but this is the first time we have collaborated with the Port in this way.

Chater went on to say: “KTP is a UK-wide Government programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity. We are delighted that academics from the Centre for Logistics and Heuristic Optimization are supporting such a successful project with the Port of Dover.”

In related news, the Port of Dover announced plans to create new facilities at their Western Docks.

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