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EU grants €7.5m for research into autonomous shipping

The project, “Advanced, Efficient and Green Intermodal Systems" (AEGIS) will develop new and more competitive systems for waterborne transport. It aims to leverage a multidisciplinary team to integrate new innovations from the area of Connected and Automated Transport (CAT) to design the next generation sustainable and highly competitive waterborne transport system in Europe. This includes more diverse sizes of ships and more flexible ship systems, automated cargo handling, ports and short sea shuttles, standardized cargo units and new digital technologies.

Small ships and inland barges can decongest roads, reduce pollution from noise and dust, while operating on batteries or other non-carbon fuels to provide green transport solutions. By automating ports and terminals and use these to integrate longer distance ship operations with the smaller ships, a new European transport system that is more flexible and user-centric with better services to rural as well as urban areas and a revitalisation of the regional ports and city terminals can be developed.

The AEGIS use-cases are located in North Europe and represent typical inter-European transports that need to be linked to local distribution systems. Case A is led by North Sea Container Line in cooperation with the the Port of Trondheim. It uses small cargo shuttles to link coastal container ships to rural and urban destinations in the region. This saves time for the larger ships and adds flexibility and frequency with the shuttles. Case B is led by DFDS and will link RORO short sea services in BeNeLux to inland waterways. This will use a similar concept as in Case A. Case C is led by Port of Aalborg in cooperation with Port of Vordingborg and will examine how existing small and medium sized ports can use automation to facilitate the transfer of cargo from trucks to sea.


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