1. Viability

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. This should not only lead to a modal shift from road to inland waterways and short sea shipping, but also allow inland navigation to become profitable in small waterways and urban areas, where it now often cannot compete with other modes. Additional expected benefits are improvement of safety and reduction of emissions. For a quick introduction to the project, just click on document A, our introductory animation.

Within NOVIMAR, a lot of effort was invested in the determination of how and where the vessel train can achieve the intended benefits. NOVIMAR developed an overarching decision aiding model, or ODAM, that is described in Document B [D1.2].

The VT can take many shapes and forms: for instance the number and type of follower vessels can differ and the lead vessel can either be a dedicated vessel or a cargo ship with additional control capabilities. In Document C, it is explained why NOVIMAR concludes that cargo-carrying lead vessels have the most potential. The minimum number of following vessels differs from case to case. In documents D, E and F we explain how these are determined for example cases on the North Sea, Rhine and Danube respectively. To help you determine if the Vessel Train holds potential for an application area of your choice, NOVIMAR developed a set of simple decision trees that can be found in document G [D1.4]. For a full assessment of the VT concept, we recommend reading either the academic dissertation related to this topic, document H or the final assessment of the project, document I.

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