All SEAMLESS building blocks, as well as the fully integrated version of the technological ecosystem, will be verified and validated through the SEAMLESS Use Cases, which are divided into:
two full-scale demonstrations in real-world conditions for SSS and IWW, which aim to verify the target TRL for the SEAMLESS building blocks, and
five transferability use cases, which aim for the replicability of the SEAMLESS business models and assess the impact of the SEAMLESS service concept throughout different regions of Europe.
UC #1: Northern Europe (SSS)
UC #2: Central Europe (IWT)
Bergen > Ågotnes (Norway)
Antwerp to Dourges via Lille (Netherlands > France)
Antwerp to Duisburg via Dordrecht and Nijmegen and further to Dortmund and Minden (Netherlands > Germany)
The Port of Bergen, which is Norway’s second largest port in tonnage and currently located within city
limits, is expected to be moved in Ågotnes.
A smaller cargo terminal will be operated in Bergen and cargo is expected to be transported through a 26km driving distance with roads and bridges, which will need to be extensively improved to handle the increase in truck traffic. To minimise cargo transportthrough trucks between the two ports, currently there are plans for using a manned 60 TEU feeder vessel. In 2030 it is estimated that these feeder loops will need to handle an annual volume of 23,000 TEU.
Modal equilibrium remains an unresolved problem for Europe. Even though the EU has been trying to
address this predicament since 2001, the modal swift towards IWT has been unsubstantial to date. The main barriers of adopting IWT are rooted in consignors designing supply chains without any IWT legs (partly despite its cost attractiveness), adverse contractual terms, a disadvantageous market structure with few big operators and many small ones, limited political support of the transport mode, lack of digitalization, and clearance profile restrictions at bridges, locks, and fairways. Additional barriers include the heavy burden of administration at border crossings, exacerbated by inconsistencies in the process.The routes accommodate existing container flows through conventional IWT services.
The UC involves a potential future system of three feeder loops serving the city of Bergen:
a direct feeder loop between Bergen and Ågotnes (green- roundtrip, 22 nm),
northern hinterland (blue, 115 nm)
and southern hinterland (red, 88 nm).
The demonstration will involve ASKO’s highly automated, fully electric RORO vessels, which are currently being built and are intended for operation in the Oslo fjord. These vessels are expected to be put in service in 2022 (Q3), and sail without crew by 2025. The route that will be involved
is the 11nm (1.5h) between Ågotnes and Bergen (or an equivalent route with similar conditions).
The activities will include the following SEAMLESS building blocks: port operations; mooring, shore connection and charging, cargo (un-)loading for RoRo and Containers; the communication between ROCs; autonomous functionality in sheltered waters and heavy traffic; and verification of operational constraints such as weather-window, tide, etc., and full utilisation of the ModalNET modules
This UC will demonstrate that a loop service comprised of a fleet of small (e.g., with up to 80 TEU), highly automated, zero-emission vessels supervised by humans-in-the-loop in ROCs on a 24/7 basis, have the potential to reinforce modal swift towards IWT. The demonstration will use ZULU -Barge design, which is a highly automated, inland container barge carrying up to 80 TEU and offering low to zero emission through an exchangeable battery-electric energy provision system.
The activities will include the following SEAMLESSbuilding blocks: 1) vessel navigation and remote fleet operation through a ROC supporting high-attention level of autonomy, interaction with crewed vessels, and smooth passage of locks and bridges, 2) digital port call within the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, 3) autonomous mooring, 4) automated container (un-)loading through the quayside infrastructure, 5) utilisation of ModalNET to ensure data flows and smooth communication
SO – leader of the UC KMNO – design and implementation of the ROC and development of the necessary SW/HW MCGFI – validate the autonomous triple joint container handling crane that will utilise the automated stowage plan SW. BERGEN – provide producers for the demonstration area (including reportion points, requirements, berthing protocols) ASKO – provide vessels, crew for manning vessel, operators for the ROC, agree on port services
ZULU – leader of the UC, provide vessel
DST – provide its Port Research Lab for the live coordination and control of the Use Case and lead the scientific analysis from economic/logistics, nautical, and ecological viewpoints
POA and PODU – provide port infrastructure
MCG – provide the autonomous mooring system. AWAKE.AI – develop and demonstrate the AVSPM Sandbox.
ISL – provide the necessary logistics operations, legal and regulatory provisions, and RIS technology.VNF and IDIT – provide legal and regulatory support and support the RIS development.
Three vessels for demonstration of ROC low-attention operations, autonomous mooring equipment, autonomous crane, truck trailers, ROC installation, vessel crew, ROC operators
One vessel (x-barge), auto-mooring equipment, rental of two multi-lift straddle carriers, installation of
the Auto-Mooring equipment in Dourges, Antwerp, Nijmegen, and/or Duisburg, crane, automated gantry crane.
City real estate is very expensive, and ports are typically located in prime locations for residential or leisure developments. Currently, at least three similar cities in Norway are looking into moving the ports out of the city centre either into smaller nearby villages or out to the coast and closer to the main fairways. Ports with similar requirements may also be found in Sweden and Denmark (e.g., Port of London and transport on the Thames, Kristiansand, Oslo, Gothenburg, Stockholm), as well as Greece and Turkey in the Mediterranean.
The planning convenience and transport speed of trucks have been modal characteristics that make it difficult for IWT to compete despite its cost-efficiency and relative reliability. As a result, the Danube basin is predominantly underdeveloped and unexploited and, thus, hindering the potential capabilities of a continuous freight transport chain that will connect the North Sea with the Black Sea.
Through the transferability cases, further commercially viable scenarios apart from the two demonstrator use cases are to be examined and evaluated at a conceptual level. To achieve this, the consortium includes key partners, that operate in or have a direct link to different regions throughout the EU, including the Eastern Mediterranean, the Western Mediterranean, the Balkan region, as well as the north-western part of continental Europe; all of which can provide the necessary input regarding traffic flows, particulars of operating vessels, market attributes, etc., and validate the case selection based on real-world market demands. Each transferability case will be coordinated by an Ambassador who is responsible for the activities related to the respective use case (i.e., data collection, meetings, workshops, etc.). All Ambassadors are coordinated by the Alignment Manager (VPF) to establish a common reference framework for the structured evaluation of all demonstrator and transferability use cases.
With respect to the evaluation of these use cases and considering their specificities, different tools, such as cargo flow projections, systems dynamics, process simulation, emission modelling, multi-agent logistics simulation, etc., will be required. Regardless of the respective tool, the evaluation criteria and performance indicators from the structured evaluation framework will be collected for each use case considered and, thus, allow a comparison among SSS use cases and IWT ones, respectively. The insights from the use case evaluation will be incorporated in the development of the sustainability-driven business models.
Apart from the system perspective on evaluation, the individual SEAMLESS key technology building blocks require functional testing on component level. An indicative example of this implementation would be the assessment of individual systems components, such as the Automooring System, which will follow the specifications from the structured evaluation framework and be conducted in the respective technical work packages. Similarly, the evaluation of the demonstrator use cases will align with structured evaluation framework.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed
are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union
CINEA. Neither the European Union nor CINEA can be held responsible for them.