Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - ENRICH (ENRICH: EC-ChiNa Research Network on Integrated Container Supply CHains)

The overall aim of this proposed exchange programme “ENRICH” is to bring together an international team of researchers to establish a research network, with a wide variety of skills in operations research, safety and security studies, green logistics, economic modelling, ICT, and intermodal management to develop a container supply chain (CSC) integration methodology, The aim is to address long-lasting changes in operational, environmental, economic, technical and managerial practices in different segments of the rail, road, air and sea transport industries from an overall supply chain perspective. The network is a physical and virtual grouping of academics and researchers designed to create an interdisciplinary think-tank and knowledge exchange platform for enhancing CSC resilience and sustainability in an environment in which a high level of uncertainty exists due to economic crisis, security risks, climate change, and every changing technologies. The scientific objectives of the project are:

1. To investigate and compare the current traffic management policies and methods used in sea, port, air, rail and road sectors and to develop a new integrated traffic optimisation method capable of dealing with containerised cargo distribution in an entire CSC.
2. To identify the hazards relating to CSCs and strengthen CSC safety through the development of a new safety assessment model; enabling the integration of risk diagnosis, prediction, alert and control with uncertainty in the data which is used.
3. To develop robust procedures for the analysis of threats and vulnerabilities associated with CSCs and to model risk reduction options through the comparison of security control policies and strategies in the selected sectors, taking into account risk acceptance criteria and the benchmarking of risk levels.
4. To review the carbon emissions control policies and methods in the selected sectors and to develop a feasible method of enhancing the adaption of CSCs to climate change, so as to address green logistics from both mitigation and adaption perspectives.
5. To simulate the data flow and storage across the different segments of CSCs using ICT and to investigate how the technique can facilitate the integration of CSCs, especially with respect to improving their safety, security and adaption to climate change.
6. To master the cost-benefit modelling through understanding associated uncertainties and all the challenges involved in enhancing CSC resilience and sustainability. This will be achieved by exploiting expert judgements, and employing the life cycle concept with flexible novel models.
7. To establish an intermodal supply chain management framework for the integration of the above supporting methods and their implementation in CSCs and validate it by conducting case studies tailored to the developed models and techniques, and demonstrating their applicability.

CSC management strategies are moving from a cost-saving or a value-added orientation towards a resilience and sustainability focused regime concerning carbon emissions and pollution, safe and secure transportation and integrated logistics process improvement. A variety of appropriate subject topics such as traffic optimisation, safety and security, green logistics and climate adaptation, ICT, cost benefit analysis and intermodal supply chain management are investigated in the different transport segments such as rail, inland waterways, road and maritime, using the expertise of the partners in the consortium.

Since the start of the current century the world at large has experienced uncertainties as a result of climate change, epidemics, terrorism threats and increasing economic upheaval. These uncertainties create risks for the proper functioning of logistics management and raise research challenges for the development of resilient and sustainable CSCs. The first challenge is to develop a holistic model which can effectively accommodate and integrate classical approaches such as traffic optimisation modelling into the individual segments of CSCs. Secondly, newly developed/developing subjects such as the impact of climate change on CSCs and CSC safety and security assessment need to be addressed through the appropriate tackling of technical difficulties. Thirdly, new problems arise as to how traditional cost benefit analysis modelling, information and communication technology (ICT) support and intermodal management in CSCs (or associated segments) can best be adapted and integrated from economic and technical perspectives. The research outcomes produced in the project significantly contribute to the optimisation of container traffic flows, the reduction of risks and emissions, and improvement of transport efficiency and adaptation to climate change. They also produce cost effective solutions to enhancing CSC integration by developing new concepts in intermodal supply chain management and ICT technologies.

The findings of this research not only attract a wide range of interests in the scientific community but also bring about economic advantages for both Europe and China since resilient and sustainable CSCs are essential to ensure the international trade and economic development between the two in uncertain everlasting changing environment. To handle the uncertainties, novel flexible models for data modelling, risk estimation, cost benefit analysis and decision making are necessary. Close collaborations between the European and Chinese partners are needed in order to share their experiences, to join efforts in developing novel tools and conduct case studies together. The new technology to be developed in this project can enable CSC systems to be designed and operated in a cost-effective and safe way; it can make the covered industrial sectors more sustainable through controlling risks and improving efficiency within the economic constraints.

The project work increases the European research capacity in the vital and rapidly developing field of transport logistics, and also maintains and enhances the EU’s leading position in the area. The outcomes of this research can be used by designers and operators of shipping lines, ports, logistics companies, transport authorities, and scientific researchers in areas of operational research, safety, security, resilience and sustainability sciences.

The project has eight partners (4 EU members, 1 AS member and 3 ICPC members) who have agreed for a program of extensive exchange of both experienced researchers (ERs) and early stage researchers (ESRs) during four years, in order to fully explore and exploit the complementary strengths and synergies within the consortium. The interdisciplinary nature of the proposed exchange programme offers a link for research and training of the involved ERs and ESRs in a collaborative academic environment. This enables to support and reinforce the collaborations amongst the participants and helps establish a long-term research collaboration.

During the 48 months of the project, the following research work has been performed through the partnership by the consortium:

1. New CSC integration modelling using centrality and transport network analysis approaches has been developed.
2. Risk estimation and uncertainty treatment have been extensively investigated.
3. Identification and modelling of security risk measures have been investigated, with particular reference to maritime supply chain systems, such as ships and port terminals.
4. New methods on green logistics and carbon emission control in transportation in the selected sectors have been investigated. Furthermore, a feasible method of enhancing the adaption of CSCs to climate change has been developed based on subjective risk perception estimation.
5. The feasibility of using big data and ICT technique for container throughput forecasting and CSC safety and security evaluation has been tested and the effective solutions have been made to improve port security and better connection between shipping and ports.
6. Various decision making models based on multiple criteria and multiple objectives have been developed in order to make cost effective decisions under uncertainties.
7. New intermodal supply chain solutions involving cross docking activities in the trading routes between China and EU have been developed to improve the utilisation of maritime transport (e.g. short sea shipping) in the EU-China CSC management.

During the project period, the consortium has produced 113 technical papers, (i.e. 7 book chapters, 45 journal, 56 conference publications and 5 working papers) and organised 7 technical workshop sessions through the partnership (at LJMU, ENU, WUT, UoL, BJTU, MUC, DMU) and 2 interim project progress review workshops, when multiple partners attended international conferences together (e.g. IAME 2014 at Norfolk, and ESREL 2016 at Zurich). The research has generated a huge impact on the understanding on how CSC can be designed and operated in a resilient and sustainable environment.

The main contact of the project:
Professor Zaili Yang
Co-Director of Liverpool Logistics, Offshore and Marine (LOOM) Research Institute
Faculty of Engineering and Technology
Liverpool John Moores University
Byrom Street, Liverpool, L3 3AF, UK
Tel. +44 151 231 2531

Reported by

United Kingdom


Life Sciences
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