The challenges of providing an effective transport system across Europe remain acute, particularly as governments try to balance conflicting demands for increased access and mobility with solving traffic congestion, pollution and rising costs.
Short-sea shipping has already demonstrated its ability to solve transport problems within an expanded EU, for absorbing increasing demand for intra European transport and for reducing congestion on European roads. Short-sea shipping is a crucial European market for waterborne transport, the shipbuilding/ship repair industry, logistic chains of hundreds of ports and terminals, some 3 460 ship owners and their fleets (around 10 000 ships).
Short-sea shipping is thus key to enhancing competitiveness and solving transport problems within a growing EU.
Short-sea shipping volumes are expected to increase by 50% between 2000 and 2020. Since 40% of the current fleet is older than 25 years, short-sea shipping needs a new generation of innovative ships to meet this potential market. These ships need enhanced economic, safety and ecological performance, fitting into future innovative logistic chains and providing a major role for EU shipbuilders.
CREATE3S goal was to initiate a new impulse in European Short Sea Shipping and Shipbuilding innovation by realising a new advanced concept in Short Sea Ship design, manufacturing and operating. The potential impact of the concept addresses the competitiveness of Short Sea Shipping as crucial transport mode in a growing EU economy and the competitiveness of the Shipbuilding industry as primary provider of advanced, safe, clean and economically efficient short sea ships. The principal project objectives were:
- A modular Short Sea ship concept composed of a basic ship hull module upon which various cargo-containing modules can be mounted.
- Correspondingly, a logistic concept based on the modular ship concept for the waterborne transport leg that outpaces current concepts in terms of logistic and economic performance, and possesses at least equal ecologic performance.
- Correspondingly, an advanced manufacturing concept based on the modular ship concept that outpaces current manufacturing concepts in terms of production cost and lead time.
The CREATE3S work programme followed an end-user driven, problem solving approach. The project's starting point was the 'cargo movement' along the logistic chain in accordance with the logistic operator's requirements. In the same way, required capabilities on cargo carrying at sea and cargo handling in port formed the starting point for the development of the new ship concepts. On both occasions the logistic operator identified and quantified the economic/operational and technical parameters hereby ensuring that the resulting ship concepts are competitive, safe and clean 'transport vehicles'. The problem solving process proceeded in two sequential iteration cycles of analysis-synthesis-evaluation steps.
An additional element was introduced to this structured approach, the 'Challenger': a parallel track with access to all project information sources but following its own course with the aim to drive, push and stimulate discussion on the evolving concept using external expertise and generated knowledge/output of the main R&D flow but without interfering with it.
The concept scientific and technical Work Programme was further detailed into an activity network containing one management and four technical Work Packages, each containing a number of tasks. The main R&D flow contains four assessment moments (milestones):
- Immediately after establishing the basic concept:
An outline of basic ship concepts adapted to the end-user (operator) requirements for various relevant trades, containing the basic definition of: cargo-containing modules, basic ship platform modules and the outline of cargo handling systems for intermodal loading units.
- Immediately after integrated the first inputs from the various disciplines:
A first integrated modular concept based on contributions from all the disciplines and including all design, operation and manufacturing aspects from the 1st cycle.
- At mid-term, when assessing the complete concept: go-no go decision. The assessment addressed the technical, economic and ecologic performance of the modular concept and provided recommendations for concept improvements that will be used for the pilot development.
- At the end of the project, the final assessment:
A consolidated answer to the modular concept feasibility on the basis of the 3 pilots assessment results is provided.
The practical project outcome is:
- A novel logistic concept with a better turn around performance and better linking with inland waterways transportation. The logistic concept goes along with:
- A new ship concept capable of carrying independent cargo modules,
- Cargo modules for different cargo types occurred,
- The ship-shore interface layout with cargo loading/unloading systems,
- Methodologies for analysing logistic chain operations.
- An advanced manufacturing concept having also a generic added value since it can also be used for ship concepts outside the project.
The envisaged potential impact of the CREATE3S project addresses two issues:
- The competitiveness of Short Sea Shipping as crucial transport mode in a growing EU economy
- The competitiveness of the Shipbuilding industry as primary provider of advanced, safe, clean and economically efficient short sea ships.
The competitiveness of Short Sea Shipping centres around the ability to ensure efficient door-to-door supply chains with the following key issues:
- Efficient linking of the motorways of the sea with coastal and inland routes,
- Swift manoeuvring and entry into ports,
- Efficient ship-shore interfaces facilitating the integration with other surface transport modes.
The CREATE3S dock ship/cargo barges (packages) solution provides this ability by matching all three key issues: it reduced time in port by ca. 75 % (b), it handles its cargo load efficiently without requiring shore-based facilities at the time of loading/unloading (c), it allows (after off-floating) to directly link with inland waterways transportation without necessitating cargo handling from sea ship to inland ship (a). The additional ability to transport liquid bulk cargo and mix this with containers provides a degree of flexibility which is not available in current unitised cargo (container) operation.
The competitiveness of the Shipbuilding industry centres around the capability:
- To conceive novel ship concepts in diverse variants which are safe, clean and cost efficient,
- To incorporate herein ship architectural concepts based on modularisation and standardisation for advanced manufacturing and reduced lead time,
- To incorporate herein advanced materials to improve payload-to-weight ratios.
The CREATE3S dock ship and cargo barges (packages) a