NOVIMAR aims to adjust inland/short-sea shipping such that it can make optimal use of the waterborne system of waterways, vessels and ports/terminals. To achieve this NOVIMAR introduces the waterborne version of 'platooning', the Vessel Train.
This is in essence a number of unmanned Follower Ships with own sailing/manoeuvring capabilities being temporarily led by a manned Leader Ship. Vessels will be able to join and leave such trains at places adjacent to their points of origin and destination at seaside or inland.
Envisaged main benefits and impacts are:
- Reduction of crew costs resulting in up to 47% total cost reduction for IWT and up to 88% crew cost reduction for short sea transport
- Enhanced logistic flexibility
- 10-15 % less energy use/emissions
- Solutions for overcoming barriers between transport modes
- High potential for reducing road congestion and associated costs
Lower costs increase the attractiveness of small vessels at sea and inland, hereby increasing access to urban areas located at small waterways (CEMT I/II), with no need for sizeable investments in infrastructures. SME’s benefits include enhanced competitiveness and improved working conditions for vessel owners/operators, and market opportunities for equipment suppliers.
NOVIMAR technology developments include measuring, control and communication systems, and navigation aids for IWT use. NOVIMAR's work structure contains 5 technical 'Work Packages' dedicated to the transport system, impact assessment, navigation, cargo systems and vessels, and safety and human skills issues. The consortium contains 22 partners: logistic operators, industry, public bodies and research organisations from 7 EU and 2 associated countries. The project duration is 48 months, required funding is €7.9 million.