LJMU to study 21st C risks to global shipping

Container ships1

Marine research experts at Liverpool John Moores University are to undertake a major study of the risks to global merchant shipping.

Each year, more than 100 million containers are shipped across the globe and when accidents happens they often lead to disaster – either financial, environmental or in terms of lives lost.

Professor Zaili Yang, co-director of the Liverpool Logistics, Offshore and Marine (LOOM) Research Institute in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology will study risk across the supply chain with a bid to improve resilience and sustainability of container transport.

He has been awarded €1.99 million (£1.8m) by the European Research Council to build a team of researchers, 4 postdoctoral researchers and 5 PhDs to carry out the work.

New threats

Professor Yang said: “Since the start of the current century, global trade has experienced new uncertainties arising from climate change, cyberattacks and emerging technologies, like autonomous ships.

“These uncertainties create non-classical risks and result in catastrophic accidents, which the traditional risk analysis methods such as quantitative risk analysis fail to address.”

Called the TRUST Project, the research will combine objective data from accidents and subjective data from stakeholders’ perceptions to inform novel risk management models using the hybrid of uncertainty (e.g. Bayesian and Dempster-Shafer theory) and optimisation such as system dynamic and genetic algorithms methods.

TRUST was one of only 301 awards from 2,453 submissions made by the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant programme, which rewards ground-breaking scientific endeavour and feasibility, and allows experienced Principal Investigators to establish their own independent research team.

Industry impacts

Professor Keith George, PVC for Research and Knowledge Exchange said: “This award is fantastic news and deserved recognition of the outstanding quality of work here. It will lead to major impacts in the maritime industry.”

Professor Mike Riley, Dean of Faculty, said: “This is a great achievement that reinforces the unique position of this excellent research team within this field of work. It is a great reflection on the university and the city, which has such a proud maritime heritage.”


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