The vessel train concept will be implemented in the existing EU transport system, which consists of infrastructure, vehicles and operations. The waterborne transport system includes both the sea and inland waterways, including locks and bridges, and deep-sea and inland ports and terminals. The NOVIMAR project developed a transport model which is used to assess the viability of the vessel train in the total EU transport system. The description of the model can be found in deliverables document A [D2.1] and document B [D2.2], while the scientific outputs can be found in (1), (2) and (3).
It also developed some vessel train specific operational insights and innovations. As the VT is a brand new concept, some new operational issues needed to be addressed. These issues are related to new business models (who is organizing the VT and which actors are involved and how do they make money with this concept?), operational aspects (i.e. departure frequencies, types of LV, etc.) and the initial VT constellations (which vessels can be included and which can not, how much does the productivity of a FV increase, etc.).
Another development is related to a cargo consolidation application. To exploit the flexibility that is offered by the vessel train concept, the VT needs to be operated in such a way that cargo shall not have to unnecessarily wait for other cargo to be loaded or unloaded. To achieve this, a special consolidation (or sorting) process needs to take place in all loading ports, such that all cargo in one vessel has the same discharge port. The details of the cargo consolidation solution can be found in document C [D.2.3].
The developed transport allowed analyzing two major cases studies:
The first is a case study centered around the port of Antwerp. In this case, both the short sea and the IWT application are tested. The results can be found in document D [D.2.4].
The second case study addresses applicability of the concept on the Danube. The results can be found in document E [D.2.5].
From these case studies, a good insight was obtained into the applicability and business economic viability of the VT concept. Next to that, it was also possible to test the overall performance of the new cargo handling system (WP4 development) and the cargo consolidation software (WP2 development). These insights served as inputs for the overall assessment of the VT in WP1. The data and the results for the developed VT in the Antwerp case is used to create the VT startup, which is extensively described in D6.4 ‘market uptake roadmap’.
1. Meersman H., Moschouli E., NanwayBoukani L., Sys C., van Hassel E., Vanelslander T., Van de Voorde E. (2020). Evaluating the performance of the vessel train concept. European transport research review – ISSN 1867-0717 – 12:1(2020), 23 https://doi.org/10.1186/S12544-020-00415-9
2. Meersman H., Moschouli E., Sys C., Van de Voorde E., Vanelslander T., van Hassel E., Friedhoff B., Hoyer K., Tenzer M., Hekkenberg R. (2020). Identifying cost performance indicators for a logistics model for vessel trains. In Maritime supply chains – ISBN 978-0-12-818421-9 – Elsevier, 2020, p. 47-65
PDF: “identifying cost performance indicators…”
3. NanwayBoukani L., Vanelslander T., van Hassel E., Moschouli E. (2019). Simulation model for a vessel platooning transport system. In World of Shipping Portugal : an international research conference on maritime affairs, 21 – 22 November, 2019, Carcavelos, Portugal – ISBN 978-989-33-0042-8 – Link: https://repository.uantwerpen.be/docman/iruaauth/6e84a4/165370.pdf
The vessel train is intended to be an alternative to conventional shipping. Its main intended benefit is reduced cost through a reduction of the size of the crew.
For the vessel train to operate control software is needed that communicates between the ships in the train and controls the navigation of the follower vessels.
For the vessel train to be able to provide a relevant service, the cargo handling concept need to be efficient with equipment and vessels carefully designed to fit the concept.