NOVIMAR researched a new system of waterborne transport operations

In the NOVIMAR vision, waterborne transport operations on short-sea, sea-river and inland waterways can be performed by Vessel Trains. Such a Vessel Train consists of a Lead Vessel and a number of Follower Vessels, remotely controlled from the Lead Vessel and having a reduced crew.

The NOVIMAR project ran between 2017 and 2021.

The NOVIMAR project aimed at adjusting the waterborne transportation such that it could make optimal use of the existing short-sea, sea-river and inland waterways, thus expanding the entire waterborne transport chain up and into the urban environment.

The vessel train was foreseen as enabler for this transport system, providing opportunities for increased flexibility in cargo destinations, use of waterways and crew deployment.   

NOVIMAR had a variety of research topics in scope ensuring a balanced evaluation of the foreseen transport system. In addition NOVIMAR has identified needed boundary conditions for the transport system and ongoing supporting developments in industry and other projects.

The results of the NOVIMAR project are presented in the form of a Vessel Train Handbook that can be reached by following the link to the VT Handbook in the Top Menu.

For information please contact the former project coordinator Netherlands Maritime Technology by e-mail:

NOVIMAR's key results

New waterborne transport system

Logistics model, principles of planning and controlling procedures for vessel train networks with full vessel capacity utilisation and efficient cargo transfer from the point of origin to the point of delivery.

Simulation model for transport systems

Assessment model for full social cost-benefit analysis and a quantitative and qualitative comparison of the developed waterborne transport systems with current systems.

Transport system performance indicators for full social cost-benefit analysis

Supporting tool for the assessment model for full social cost-benefit analysis and a quantitative and qualitative comparison of the developed waterborne transport systems with current systems.

Input to regulatory developments for joint operations of conventional and unmanned vessels

Vessel train network governance principles.

Recommendations for optimised working conditions and human reliability, and training needs

Guidelines for operational safety of vessel trains, including regulatory developments necessary to implement joint operations of conventional and unmanned vessels and the corresponding human skills.

Command and control technology for vessel trains

Sensors and control systems for safe and secure interaction between follower and leader vessels, including interface with shore based control centres when necessary.

Navigation aid for IWT vessels and vessel trains advising speed and track on the river

Navigational aid for Inland Waterway Transportation based on the availability of real time information from vessels in combination with River Information Services and other sources to support safe route control of vessel trains in varying river, weather, traffic and other conditions.

New and revised concepts for RORO cargo systems and vessels

Economically viable Roll On Roll Off (RORO) cargo system concepts for sea-river operations and corresponding RORO vessel concepts.

Vessel train handbook

Handbook containing an exemplary business case and outline “start-up” for vessel trains.

Updates & events