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. A prerequisite for the project was to base the cargo handling on a roro concept. The challenge was then to capture the benefits of roro handling such as speed, flexibility and low cost and avoid the drawbacks such as poor space and deadweight utilization.
The NOVIMAR cargo handling concept consists of three key elements.
The ability to pick up from the ground directly and put down on a cargo deck and vice versa eliminates the need for intermediate cargo carriers such as cassettes or roll trailer and by that increases the utilization of the cargo space and the deadweight of the ship. The ability to block stow the containers on board the ship further increases the utilization of the cargo space and reduces the need for lashing. These features increase the utilization of the cargo capacity of the ship and maintain the benefits of roro handling and makes the concept viable for increased use in smaller vessels such as inland waterway vessels.
The ability to unload and load trailer at the terminal eliminates the need for special equipment for this function. The versatility of the NOVIMAR cargo handling vehicle reduces the investment cost for the terminal and increases the utilization of the vehicle.
Document: The cross-transfer platform
By enabling transfer of cargo, between short sea and inland waterway operations directly from ship to ship the pressure on the terminals and road infrastructure in the larger port areas can be reduced.
The RoRo-CTP will enable cross docking of vessels, i.e. direct transfer of cargo between short sea vessels and inland waterway vessels. The RoRo-CTP in combination with the NOVIMAR cargo handling vehicle will make the cargo handling fast and inexpensive enabling the development of smaller terminals /distribution hubs servicing various sizes of inland waterway vessels.
More information about the NOVIMAR cargo handling vehicle and cross transfer platform can be found in document D [D4.3].
The vessel concepts developed with the NOVIMAR project are conceived with the following design objectives in mind.
The vessel should be able to act as a stand-alone cargo vessel when no VT is formed.
Cargo transhipment is to be performed using the NOVIMAR container handling vehicle
Specific technical requirements with respect to safety and cyber security should be fulfilled.
Additionally, if the vessel is intended to be capable of leading the VT, there are some technical requirements which are specific for the lead vessel (LV).
More detailed description of the vessels that has been designed in the NOVIMAR project can be found in Vessel design [D4.4].
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.
The vessel train concept will be implemented in the existing EU transport system, which consists of infrastructure, vehicles and operations.
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.