The PhD journey of Seyed Abolfazl (Majid) Mohseni

After successfully obtaining his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from  Politecnico di Milano, Majid started his doctoral programme in maritime transportation at the University of Antwerp. During his research, he faced many educational and research related challenges but in the end, those challenges helped him become a better version of himself and overcome difficulties in real life. Here’s his story.

Sustainable maritime supply chain

“Sustainability in the maritime sector is a challenging issue for all stakeholders involved. In my thesis, I addressed important issues in containerised maritime shipping. The main objective was to improve the sustainability of the maritime supply chain under environmental and social regulations.

My PhD covers different segments and stages of the maritime supply chain – such as hinterland transport, seawaters, maritime shipping, and terminal operations, in order to enhance their sustainable aspects on regional, national and global levels.”

Main application studies

“My PhD thesis consists of different chapters in which several methodologies are applied to fulfill the objectives and to respond to the key research question. The four main application studies are:

      • Economic impact of the installment of Same Risk Area (SRA) under the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC);
      • Economic evaluation of alternative technologies to mitigate sulfur emissions;
      • Enhancing the supervision of containerised cargo from an economic perspective;
      • Supply chain analysis in terms of dry and reefer cargo.

These four studies involved close collaboration with Belgian Customs and the Port of Antwerp. In addition to working closely with these two stakeholders, I had the opportunity to work with many other companies involved in supply chain and logistics.

In addition, I developed two new models. The first one deals with the economic impact analysis of the Ballast Water Treatment System in the SRA based on a developed typology to classify the vessel types. The second is the scanning cost model aiming to enhance the cargo supervision at port level by providing the possibility for scanning the containers in different locations inside and outside the terminal.”

The outcome

“My PhD supports governments and policy-decision makers by providing the costs and benefits of certain cases that address the sustainability of the maritime supply chain. The applied methodologies and obtained results can be extended to other ports worldwide.

All this resulted in three papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, two international conference papers, different (EU) reports and deliverables, and public presentations at many international conferences.

Furthermore, thanks to my involvement in other industry-level projects and having to work towards different deadlines simultaneously, I can also add conducting interviews, stress and time management, effective communication and analytical thinking to my skill set.”

The big day

“Fortunately, I could finalise my PhD on time and I successfully passed the internal defense on 1 October 2021. Three months later, on 25 January 2022, I defended my PhD successfully, earlier than expected.

A big part of my thesis was written during Covid-19. However difficult, it positively influenced my proficiency and concentration. If I have to name one positive outcome on this thesis being written during the pandemic, it was certainly that I was able to invite many of my friends and family to attend my online defense.”

Seyed ‘Majid’ Abolfazl Mohseni is a post-doc researcher at the Department of Transport and Regional Economics. Find out more about PhD research at the Faculty of Business and Economics

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