UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


Improving port and dependent supply chain resilience

Seaports are critical to the UK. 95% of the country’s supplies come by sea including more than one-third of its food supply.

1 September 2017

However, both ports and supplies are vulnerable to disruptions. Hence, ports and their stakeholders need to be resilient and business continuous for the sustainability of supply chains, the economy and port business. Perceived increases in climate change-related risks, particularly storm surges, and emerging risks such as cyber security and space weather, have increased the need to help foster greater resilience amongst the UK’s ports.

The resilience of UK ports relies on the multiple stakeholders that make up the system and their complex interdependencies. Our research focused on developing decision support tools based on simulation models (MARS – Methodology for Assessing Resilience of Seaports), real-time data capture of freight movements and participatory methods that helped the port community to better understand their dependencies, risks and system impacts for disruption, thereby improving their resilience. In addition, we conducted research into extending the methods for assessing critical energy supply chain resilience such as coal and biomass specifically for coastal flooding scenarios due to storm surge events.

Funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) along with the Department for Transport, the research delivered surge forecasting models and detailed flood maps to assess and plan resilience measures for scenarios of storm surge events and the resulting flooding.