University and Port of Dover announce partnership

Group of people stand on a tug boat

Image caption: Professor Dongping Song and Dr Yuanjun Feng with colleagues from Port of Dover and the Universities of Manchester, Cranfield, and Kent.

The University of Liverpool has formed a new partnership with the Port of Dover to develop next-generation technological solutions for the strategic and operational challenges facing the Port and to meet its vision to be smart, seamless, and sustainable.

Alongside the University of Liverpool, the Port has committed to cutting-edge research collaboration with the Universities of Manchester, Cranfield and Kent, across a range of projects from port optimisation to AI, machine learning and physics-based deep learning.

These partnerships are expected to create reciprocal opportunities for the Port to benefit from each University’s world-leading researchers, to resolve strategic obstacles using pioneering digital solutions and enhance the journey of £144bn worth of UK trade, 11m passengers and 2.4m trucks every year, with huge dividends to be gained by UK productivity.

In turn, researchers will be able to employ a unique and world-leading operational testing ground for innovation in the Port of Dover and stretch their knowledge of potential uses of AI.

The University of Liverpool, Cranfield and Kent will drive operational efficiencies in resource management, traffic flow optimisation, logistics and the supply chain through the Port and across the wider region. Meanwhile, work with the University of Manchester focuses on the development of a digital twin for the Port of Dover, utilising machine learning and physics-based deep learning.

Commenting on the project, Christian Pryce, Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Dover, said: “The Port of Dover’s vision to become a smart, seamless, and sustainable port is fast coming to fruition, but the only way this vision can be realised is through collaboration with first-class thinkers and researchers. These four universities form the first wave of a wide range of partnerships that the Port of Dover plans to establish to help us achieve our ambitions across all areas, we encourage potential partners to reach out to us with ideas if they think they can support our journey.

“This first set of collaborative agreements provides a framework for engagement between the Port and four university partners – bringing projects together and acting as a springboard to remarkable digital solutions. A UKRI-sponsored feasibility study has already identified the potential of an AI-driven digital twin for the Port of Dover, which will revolutionise both landside and marine operations. While port optimisation projects represent opportunities for supply chain and logistics solutions to create thriving environments for commercial partners.

“With the Universities of Manchester, Cranfield, Liverpool and Kent, the Port of Dover will grow its position as a world-leading Port further, and we look forward to working with them to push their knowledge and understanding into new territories, driving economic growth for the UK through frictionless international trade and travel.”

Dongping Song, Professor in Supply Chain Management at the University of Liverpool Management School, said: “We are very pleased to join the partnership with the Port of Dover to help tackle the strategic challenges the Port faces. We will contribute our expertise in port operations, logistics and supply chain management, optimisation and AI, to help drive operational efficiencies and create environmental and social value in the Port of Dover and the wider region.”