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CONTAINER: Modelling Decision-making Processes in UK Container Transport

Dr Tony Field
Prof. John Darlington
EPSRC project GR/N16631/01
Started in May 2001
Completed in February 2005
Funded value

The UK container transport system is important for sustainable development. At present there is no holistic model of the industry that can be used to assess the effectiveness of strategic investments or government policy changes. This project seeks to use the developing science of complex adaptive systems to provide such a model.

The basic premise of this area of science is that you can only understand the overall behaviour of a system by simulating the interactions of its component parts. If each of the components changes the way they behave depending on their interactions with other components, then it is likely that the overall behaviour can only be understood by studying the complete system. It is not sufficient to study and understand the individual components.

The container transport business is a system of this type, with companies being the components. They change the way they do business depending on the actions of their competitors, suppliers and customers.

It is also hoped that this project will help establish a UK centre of excellence for studying emergent behaviour of complex adaptive systems.