Enabling Security and Risk-based Operation of Container Line Supply Chains (CLSCs) under High Uncertainties

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Manchester Business School

Abstract

Over the past several years, there has been a growing international recognition that security and risk issues of marine systems such as container line supply chains (CLSCs) need to be reviewed urgently. Serious accidents such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the lock-out of the American West Coast Ports in 2002, the blast on the Madrid commuter trains in 2004 and the blast on the London commuter buses and underground trains in 2005 have shocked the whole international shipping and logistics supply industries and prompted this urgency. CLSCs, with many complex physical and information flows, have not only contributed to economic prosperity but also rendered themselves uniquely vulnerable to many risks ranging from delay of cargo delivery to environmental pollution and from terrorist attacks to damage of economic stability. Security is becoming one of the most important criteria for measuring the performance of the design, control and management of marine systems. The term security may in general be defined as freedom from vulnerability which is an exposure to serious disturbances arising from threats. In this research, risks associated with threats will be referred to as security risks. Whilst conventional hazard-based risk is a combination of the probability of occurrence of an undesirable event and the degree of its possible consequences, security risks are different from hazard-based risks and need to be modelled differently. As a result, security and risk assessment is a process of analysing both threats and hazards in a system and making respective decisions on suitable strategies against the potential vulnerability of the system. Previous research in this and related areas has greatly increased our understanding of vulnerability, risks, threats and hazards. However, few studies have generated appropriate supporting tools for security and risk studies in CLSCs from both the engineering and managerial viewpoints. This project is aimed at developing a security and risk-based framework and also assessment models suitable for marine operations. To achieve this aim, several challenging research questions need to be investigated. First of all, most relationships among different security and risk variables may emerge at a variety of spatial, temporal or functional scales, which might be better represented if each relationship were described at or between the dynamic and interactive levels of detail, rather than treating static and steady scale processes identically. In this project, a novel hybrid reasoning network combining Bayesian networks, fuzzy sets and evidential reasoning, referred to as the ER-RN model, will be developed in order to estimate the occurrence likelihoods of threats and hazards in CLSCs. Secondly, information for security and risk assessment in CLSCs is inherently uncertain, caused by imperfect understanding of the domain of a CLSC, incomplete knowledge about the state of the domain, randomness in the mechanisms governing the behaviour of the domain, or a combination of them. It is therefore a great challenge to handle such uncertain information. In this project, a novel belief rule based (BRB) system approach will be investigated in order to use such uncertain information for estimating risks associated with both threats and hazards by modelling the damage capability, recall difficulty and damage probability of threats as well as the possible consequences of hazards. Thirdly, the assessment of security and risk control measures (SRCMs) requires the simultaneous consideration of multiple criteria such as system risk, the costs of implementing a SRCM and the benefits from reduced risk and cargo transfer delay. In this research, a multiple attribute decision-making method will be developed, which can process various types of information with uncertainty generated from the proposed ER-RN and BRB models. Case studies will be conducted to demonstrate the proposed network, models and analysis methods.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description On background problem
• Safety-related regulations, operational strategies, typical risks (such as collision, contact, sinking, fire and explosion, machinery failure) and risk assessment approaches were investigated in the marine industry.
• Factors of influencing the hazard of fire and explosion were identified, and a structured framework was developed to evaluate the safety level against the hazard of fire and explosion for containerships.
• A safety modelling and synthesis method using the Evidential Reasoning (ER) approach and the Belief-Rule-Based (BRB) methodology was discussed for safety assessment in terms of three basic parameters, namely occurrence likelihood, probability of occurrence of potential consequence, and potential consequence, for container line supply chains.

On methodology
• The inference mechanisms of the ER approach were analyzed both experimentally and analytically. These analysis results demonstrate the nonlinear inference and approximation capabilities of BRB systems, and also reveal the necessity of adaptively updating the parameters of BRB systems, e.g., the referential values of antecedent attributes.
• A heuristic training data selection scheme was proposed for BRB systems to fine tune all parameters, including rule weights, attribute weights, the basic belief degrees of consequents, and the referential values of antecedent attributes.
• A learning method using sequential linear programming (SLP) was proposed for effectively training belief rule-based systems. Specific techniques, including determination of move limits, calculation of first-order gradients and stopping criteria, were developed to improve the performance of the SLP algorithm.
• The inference and approximation properties of belief rule based systems were analysed in a theoretical way. It has been constructively proved by using the Stone-Weierstrass theorem that BRB systems can approximate any continuous function on a compact set with arbitrary accuracy.
• A novel uncertain nonlinear system identification method was proposed to identify the optimal lower and upper bounds of an uncertain nonlinear system simultaneously by combining the methodology of BRB systems with nonlinear min-max optimisation techniques.
• The theoretical research outcomes from this EPSRC project were successfully applied to the portfolio optimisation problem with nonlinear cash-flows and constraints.
• Current research on Container Line Supply Chain (CLSC) security analysis is reviewed, the limitations of current research are summarized and potential directions for future research for CLSC security analysis are suggested;
• Factors relevant to security assessment for general CLSCs and factors relevant to security assessment for cargo theft of a port storage area along a CLSC are identified, the features of the factors are investigated, and the relations among the factors are analyzed.
• A structured model to assess security for general CLSCs is developed.
• A structured model to assess security for a port along a CLSC against cargo theft is developed and the Belief rule-base inference methodology using the evidential reasoning Approach (RIMER) is applied to conduct the security assessment.
• A method is proposed to optimally allocate resources for the improvement of CLSC security based on the security assessment result. The method aims to maximize security improvement under the constraint of budget or minimize cost incurred under the requirement of security improvement.
• The patterns to aggregate information in the model for security assessment of a port along a CLSC against cargo theft are investigated according to the relations among the factors in the model, corresponding methods to handle different information aggregation patterns are developed accordingly.
• Different types of incompleteness regarding the input information to the security assessment model and the knowledge contained in the security assessment model are identified and analyzed, a method to handle the security assessment problem with different kinds of incomplete information is also developed.
• The models and methods developed are validated based on real data collected from ports in both the UK and China.
Exploitation Route Software packages have been developed for use by others:
• A general DLL (Dynamic Link Library) development package was developed for the ER approach and the rule-base inference methodology using the evidential reasoning (RIMER) in C++.
• Optimization packages (encapsulated DLL using lpsolve solver) were developed for generic linear programming (LP) and Sequential linear programming (SLP).
• Optimisation programme using SLP was developed, tested and analysed for training BRB systems.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

 
Description The project has led to the development of a new methodology and software package for risk and safety analysis and system modelling and simulation. The methodology has been used by other researchers and practitioners in a range of areas including healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and transportation.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport
Impact Types Economic

 
Description EPSRC DTA
Amount £75,870 (GBP)
Organisation University of Manchester 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2011 
End 08/2014
 
Description EPSRC KTA Fellowship
Amount £323,244 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Department Knowledge Transfer Account (University of Manchester)
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2011 
End 12/2012
 
Description ESPRC KTA
Amount £93,442 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Department Knowledge Transfer Account (University of Manchester)
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2010 
End 06/2011
 
Description European Commission FP7 Marie Curie Actions - International Research Staff Exchange Scheme
Amount € 71,400 (EUR)
Funding ID EC- GPF-314836 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 09/2012 
End 09/2016
 
Description European Commission FP7 Marie Curie Grant
Amount € 200,371 (EUR)
Funding ID EC-FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IEF 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 05/2012 
End 04/2014
 
Description ABS Consulting 
Organisation ABS Consulting
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The project team provided regular reports to the company during the course of the project.
Collaborator Contribution The company provided data and staff time for technical support to the project
Impact Several papers were generated where the background information was based on the partner's situations.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Mersey Maritime Ltd 
Organisation Mersey Maritime Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The project team provided regular report to the company during the course of the project
Collaborator Contribution The company provided data and technical support, which formed the basis for several papers.
Impact Several papers were based on the information from the company
Start Year 2009
 
Description Peel Ports Group 
Organisation The Peel Group
Department Peel Ports Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The project team provided regular reports to the company about the progress of the project.
Collaborator Contribution The company provided data and staff time for technical support to the project
Impact There is no joint paper with the company
Start Year 2009
 
Title A general DLL (Dynamic Link Library) 
Description A general DLL (Dynamic Link Library) development package was developed for the ER approach and the rule-base inference methodology using the evidential reasoning (RIMER) in C++. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact Many other research projects and students have used the software 
 
Title Optimization packages 
Description Optimization packages (encapsulated DLL using lpsolve solver) were developed for generic linear programming (LP) and Sequential linear programming (SLP). Optimisation programme using SLP was developed, tested and analysed for training BRB systems 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact Many other research projects and students have used the software 
 
Description The GM India Science Lab Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Provided a talk to a large audience at the Global Annual Conference of General Motors Company in INdia
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description The National Conference of Management Science and Engineering 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Provided a keynote talk at the China National Conference in Management Science and Engineering for mostly postgraduate research students and other researchers and practitioners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010