Dr Yuquan (Bill) Du was a master’s student, working on a project on berth allocation in container ports, when he first fell in love with the maritime industry.
Seeing first-hand how his mathematical modelling helped allocate berths in the port more efficiently, thereby making cost savings, led to a “great sense of achievement”. This set him on the path to dedicating the next decade to using his skills to tackle challenges exclusively faced by ports and shipping companies.
Bill specialises in mathematical modelling and algorithms. His skills can help ports and shipping companies identify the best schedule for loading and discharging containers; understand how to optimally design a shipping service network; and determine ideal speeds of ships to maximise fuel efficiency.
As the newest lecturer in AMC’s Department of Maritime and Logistics Management, Bill hopes to use his passion for quantitative research to build up the department’s reputation in this area, and help support the overall numerical capabilities of the team.
He joins AMC from the Centre for Maritime Studies, National University of Singapore, where he spent three years as a research fellow. Prior to this, his experience includes a year at the Department of Transportation Engineering in Inner Mongolia University, and PhD, Master, and Bachelor degrees from Nankai University, China.
Shipping companies have been the focus of his work over the last three years. In his most recent position, Bill worked with a global shipping company to build a mathematical model to quantify ship fuel efficiency in different weather conditions, as well as a trim optimization procedure based on the ship fuel efficiency model. His models are now being tested, and are anticipated to make fuel savings of between 5-8%.
Being an academic working on industrial problems can be challenging, Bill explains. Publishing papers means finding the balance between the complex models that academia desires, and the simpler solutions preferred by industry.
The opportunities, though, are great; particularly when it comes to teaching. Bill is motivated by a sense of helping others, and is driven by the responsibility of his AMC teaching remit, and his desire to do his utmost to impart knowledge and ideas to his students.
The future of his field is data driven. Ever more industry data (e.g. from sensors) is accumulated, and made available to researchers. This can be used to tackle previously impossible challenges and recommend new optimisations.
These include how a voyage (speed, trim) should be planned, how containers and packages should be stowed in a ship or compartment, ideal schedules for when the bottom of a ship should be cleaned, and when engines need to be maintained.
Bill is inspired by his responsibility as a scholar. This motivates him to help create knowledge and address industry problems. He wants to look back and know that he made a difference.
At the Australian Maritime College, we think he’s well placed to do so and we wish him every success in his new role.
Published on: 18 Nov 2016