The Container World modelling project (CW for short) will use computer modelling to simulate the UK container business as a whole. The goal is to provide government and commercial enterprises with a flexible tool that they can easily adapt to address their own strategic questions, whether concerned with planning, investment or legislation. The project will create a 'CW Modelling Toolkit', which will allow the user to investigate the response to the UK container business as a whole to his own scenarios for change. The user will be able to replace the default data used to develop the model with confidential data available to their own organisation. There will also be a technical report of the contractors research into the stability of and uncertainties in simulations created with the toolkit.
The project manager will keep in mind how the partners in business and government will use the model. To illustrate its practical value, a number of scenarios of the kind that will interest future users will be developed. The following is a list of the scenarios:
- Shipping companies operating ever-larger vessels, may find it commercially desirable to exclude British ports from the North European loop. This will introduce a growing demand for the overland component to focus on European rather than British ports.
- As UK roads and rail congestion increases it may become commercially attractive (possibly with public subsidy) to invest in coastal shipping of containers. This might also link with Scenario (1).
- Increased use of rail for transporting containers in Britain, following investment in dedicated freight lines (or freight rail bypasses), and in handling of rail traffic at ports and inland depots.
- Introduction of a new commercial enterprise to optimise the handling of empty containers for all businesses transporting containers in the UK.