European trade and economy is highly dependent on ports. The container sector currently faces an increasing threat of terminal congestion and thus container terminals are potential bottlenecks within the transport chain. Besides the logistics problems which will arise from container terminal congestion, European ports in general need to strengthen competitiveness by improving availability and cost-benefit ratio of services to all types of vessels, passengers and commodities.
European ports already follow an innovative and pro-active approach, however, appropriately structured research assistance will have a lever function resulting in much higher benefits than costs. After analysing the current state of the art and requirements, concrete re search objectives have been worked out and translated into the work plan of EFFORTS. The vision is rather simple: to intelligently combine selected key developments so that the overall added value is much more than the sum of individual improvements.
The terms of reference were challenging but feasible within the project duration resulting in clearly measurable products and processes. However, searching for new solutions always includes the risk of not achieving all specified objectives.
The project approach therefore allowed for alternatives to avoid dead ends. EFFORTS was structured around ports and port services resulting in a holistic approach. The work content covered the sub-project areas NAVIGATION, ENVIRONMENT, and ORGANISATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE clearly focussing on specified objectives to be brought into a coherent context to each other and to the overall goal of increased port effectiveness through the project INTEGRATION activity.
Integration in EFFORTS was not restricted to technology and business processes but took into account crucial social economic aspects such as personnel qualification, business awareness, social responsibility and job satisfaction
The European FP-6 DG Research Integrated Project 'Effective Operations in Ports (EFFORTS)' aimed to improve the competitiveness of European port operations and the quality of the ports labour conditions and market, being a prominent one in coastal regions. Commencing 1 May 2006 and lasting for 42 months EFFORTS, research and development focussed on three scopes of application:
- Navigation in Ports: three work packages dealing with safe and efficient approach and berthing of vessels usually increasing size faster than port infrastructure can follow;
- Ports and environment: four work packages covering the most relevant environmental areas related to port operation;
- Port organisation: two work packages providing an architecture and process description all operations
The horizontal work packages served to integrate the results from the vertical work packages to a holistic picture.
A project of the size of an IP required stringent horizontal planning, monitoring and assessment to exploit project resources in an optimum way. The horizontal WPs also had an important service function to make the wide spectrum of knowledge aware and available to all WP-teams, to solve problems and clarify issues of common project interests centrally and organize internal and external support for problem solving.
It was the horizontal platform where integration took place and where results could be also put into context of relevant social and policy (EC) conditions and communities.
WP I - Coordination and Management (Leader D'Appolonia, Italy)
This WP was split into two Sub-WPs, one dealing with the financial and administrative coordination (Leader D'Appolonia, Italy) whereas the other covered the scientific-technical co-ordination (Leader TUHH Germany supported by TL&A and ICES, France) including quality assurance covering the whole research and development process from specification of objectives via the work processes till the deliverables and its relevance to port operations.
WP II - Integration (Leader TUHH, Germany)
Integration was a core issue of EFFORTS to allocate R&D work in most appropriate way to the large pattern of port operations and to exploit synergies between work packages. Project results wherever possible should cause a lever effect i.e. the impacts from all achievements together should exceed individual impacts. The formal platform for integration was provided by WP 3.1 determining all relevant port processes and its coherence which also allowed mapping out critical relationships or dependencies between RTD issues, practical applications/requirements and normative/regulative ones. This 'port process map' further allows identifying the needs, the opportunities and the conditions to achieve a higher degree of interoperability and interconnectivity between operational processes based on technological innovations.
WP III - Education, Training and Development (Leader Port of Dublin, Ireland)
The objective of this work package was to factually and formally improve vocational training in ports on a European standard and provide further education on the academic level in order familiarise university graduates with ports and allow for portspecific promotions.
Ships constantly increased in size during the last years while the ports they served remained the same. As a result, intelligent technical support was necessary to perform the required services while maintaining high safety standards to reduce the risk for severe environmental impacts due to collisions or groundings. Hence, tug simulators were developed as part of EFFORTS in order to facilitate manoeuvring within the ports.
The system included a three-dimensional (3D) simulator which enabled the tug skipper to judge the distance to the assisted ship better than in cases of conventional visual displays. The wave-thrust interaction for different propulsion types and tug sizes was determined through examination of detailed datasets. The designed hydrodynamic interaction codes were evaluated through testing. Fender and collision forces were also analysed and included in the simulator. It appeared that the method results were not sufficiently useful; the options for improvement remained an open question. However, the developed technology contributed significantly in visualising and modelling actual conditions in an effective way.
A prototype portable pilot unit (PPU) was also designed. The device was lightweight, quick and easy to set up, small, robust and reliable and finally, easy to use. The user interface was visually appealing and usable by touch screen. The software was applicable to different operating systems while some of its components could be installed to mobile devices.
The PPU offered to the pilot the options to select between different tags and proceed to silent communication and ordering. The potential of both the tug master and the vessel pilot to share visual information radically improved the efficacy of manoeuvring. Several tugs could be simultaneously employed.
Furthermore, a new port electronic navigational chart (ENC) standard was developed, along with an electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) viewer, to meet the emerging needs. The standard was compatible with both inland and maritime ENCs and included additional features and objects compared to conventional alternatives. The undertaken work achieved high accuracy, improved resolution and provided three-dimensional modelling of the port and fairway.
Protection of the ports' environment, in order to minimise annoyances to adjacent residential areas, was also among the project thematic priorities. The employed approach consisted of defining potential environmental risks and applying