PORTeC, as a unit of Imperial College Consultants, undertakes consultancy projects that fall in the areas of our expertise. A non-exhaustive list of recent projects is included below.


Technical audit of the MDS Transmodal transhipment study

Participants: Gianluca Barletta, Prof. Michael Bell, Prof. Sheila Farrell, Prof. Robert Cochrane and Dr. Khalid Bichou

PORTeC was commissioned by the Department for Transport to undertake a technical audit of the MDS Transmodal transhipment study considering the structure, input data, processing and the quality of output results. The purpose of this work is to assess the suitability of the transhipment modelling approach and to recommend further development of the model to assist the future formation of ports and international networks policy. The model treats the assignment of container flows to routes to and from Great Britain (GB) as a game played between profit maximising terminal operators and cost minimising shipping lines, and seeks a Nash equilibrium that respects terminal capacity. Road/rail mode choice is considered for container movement within GB. The model is used to examine various scenarios relating to the evolution of GB terminal capacity.

Study of automated check-in procedures for a large ferry port

Participants: Dr. Panagiotis Angeloudis, Sonal Ahuja, Gianluca Barletta and Prof. Michael Bell

We studied a major ferry gateway to the UK, and proposed an alternative solution based on the use of new technologies, such as RFID tags and Automatic Number Plate Recognition systems, to replace the current procedures. At present vehicles are checked in manually, requiring the collection of data regarding the vehicle (in the case of trucks, including weight and load) and its driver. The proposed solution has the potential to improve efficiency with respect to check-in time for the vehicles and check-in cost to the ferry operator. Using the VISSIM microscopic traffic simulator, in conjunction with the Limen framework we compared the existing manual and proposed automated check-in procedures for a major ferry operator and showed that new technologies can indeed bring significant operational benefits. Based on the results of this case study, conclusions are drawn about the role of new ICT technologies in securing safe, secure and efficient check-in. The study has been extended to consider post-checking vehicle queing and ferry boarding procedures.

An Analysis of Metro Efficiency for London Underground

Participants: RTSC, Prof. Michael Bell and Dr. Khalid Bichou

London Underground (LUL) has commissioned the Railway and Transport Strategy Centre at Imperial College London to undertake econometric benchmarking analysis, firstly at an aggregate level (the whole metro). Later stages of the work go on to investigate assess the extent to which the Infrastructure Companies ("Infracos") supplying services to LUL under the Public Private Partnership ("PPP") contracts are "economic and efficient" ("E&E"). The project involves a number of econometric and analytical benchmarking exercises, and the task of the PORTeC team was to conduct a series of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) panel-data models, including the measurement and analysis of total-factor productivity change, according to some different assumptions about the way metros operate. We then modelled the results of this study to investigate the impacts of PPP contracts in other settings, including ports.

Structural and regulatory review of the transport-network utilities of South Africa, World Bank

Participants: Prof. Michael Bell and Dr. Khalid Bichou

This is a large project aiming at analysing and evaluating transport mode and infrastructure operations, performance, organisation and ownership models in South Africa with a view of formulating policy and regulatory options. The PORTeC team was assigned the following tasks:

  • Evaluation of the operating performance of South African Ports Operations.
  • Identification of options for introducing competition in ports and assessment of the likely impacts of deregulation and privatization on port performance.
  • Assessment of the progress made following the mid-2003 announcement by the government of South Africa of its intention to transfer the operations of all commercial ports in the country to the private sector.
  • Assessment of the progress made following the mid-2003 announcement by the government of South Africa of its intention to transfer the operations of all commercial ports in the country to the private sector.
  • Assessment of the progress made following the mid-2003 announcement by the government of South Africa of it s intention to transfer the opera tions of all commercial ports in the country to the private sector.

Bari Metropolitan Area Strategic Plan

Participant: Prof. Michael Bell

The province of Puglia and the metropolitan area of Bari, southern Italy, have commissioned a comprehensive strategic plan for the metropolitan area of Bari (Bari 2015). An important element of this is the future roles of the ports of Bari, Brindisi and Taranto as well as the land links between them and the hinterland. Taranto is developing as a container, stee l and oil terminal and is well located as a port of call for vessels travelling between Europe and the Far East via the Suez canal. Bar i is developing as a ferry terminal serving the Balkan states and Greece. Brindisi, historically an important gateway for Greece, is in decline. In Bari, where the port is adjacent to the town, truck access and waterfront development are important issues.

RFID application survey

Participant: Gianluca Barletta

The project involved the identification of the latest trends and developments of the market and applications of RFID technologies in a variety of fields (warehousing, logistics, security, tracking and tracing etc.). The project was appointed by a major business intelligence company to update their information database.