Nautical Traffic Modelling for Safe and Efficient Ports


Along with the development of shipbuilding technology and the increasing demand of cargo transport at sea, the capacity of a port is a significant criteria when assessing the original design or the operation management. To reach the highest efficiency without safety as a sacrifice, an appropriate method is required for the design and operation management of a port. Among different research methods, simulation modelling would be feasible to acquire the results under different external conditions. However, the existing models mostly rely on historical data, which cannot be applied in newly designed ports. The models also fail to simulate both the operation of a port as a whole and the performance of an individual vessel.
This research to develop a new nautical traffic simulation model which could predict the situation of several vessels sailing simultaneously in a water area based on their own navigational characteristics.

Scientific challenges

One scientific challenge for this research is to analyse the impacts of external factors, e.g. wind, current, etc., on vessels behaviour according to the AIS data. When the impacting mechanism of external factors is discovered, the vessels behaviour under specific conditions can be further simulated. The other scientific challenge is to simulate the vessel behaviour caused by human factors of the bridge team, especially when a vessel is in encountering situations.

Societal relevance

The model development will be carried out in the port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which is one of largest ports over the world. The model is expected to be generic in any port area after calibration of the model parameters. From a microscopic viewpoint, the model describes the vessel’s behaviour in a different sailing environment. When the model simulates for a long term, the results provide the dynamic sailing information in a port area without the historical data. It could be the input to assess the safety and capacity of a newly designed port, which is beneficial for the port authority and other equivalent parties to optimize the design plan at a very early stage.

Yang Zhou

Start/end date: September, 2013 - September, 2017
Daily supervisor: Winnie Daamen
Promotor: Tiedo Vellinga, Serge Hoogendoorn