This project will investigate the potential for developing fast freight ferry services on UK coastal routes as an alternative to long-distance road transport. The study will involve application, testing, and further refinement of a research methodology previously used to establish the operational and commercial viability of fast ferry services (e.g. in EMMA, and ZEE-SCOT projects) throughout Europe.
Findings from the study will be expected to demonstrate to industry partners, in particular to ports, ferry operator. Shipbuilder and integrated transport service providers, the potential feasibility of fast freight ferry services. Should this indicate that there is likely to be significant demand for such a service, future research could employ stated preference modelling to quantify the share of freight movements on targeted routes which might be captured. Research undertaken by Tweddle, Fowkes and Nash (1996) on the effects of the introduction of Channel Tunnel freight services shows how stated preference surveys can be effectively used for this purpose.
The aim of the study is to establish the operational and commercial feasibility of advanced fast freight ferries on UK coastal routes as an alternative to long-distance road transport.
This project investigated the potential for developing fast freight ferry services on UK coastal routes as an alternative to long-distance road transport. The study involved application, testing, and further refinement of a research methodology previously used to establish the operational and commercial viability of fast ferry services (e.g. in EMMA, and ZEE-SCOT projects) throughout Europe. The project complies with the Infrastructure provision theme and in particular contributes to knowledge under the TENs objective of this theme. In addition, the sub themes of infrastructure provision include:
European intelligent infrastructure, such as vessel traffic management and information;
Interconnection of multi modal networks for freight especially the aspect of identifying new technical and operational solutions for freight terminals (seaport- hinterland interface);
Development of the trans European transport network.
This project has:
- identified key requirements of the road transport logistics sector vis-à-vis any coastal shipping combined transport solution;
- found out that the high speed Ro-Ro ship type appears to offer best prospects for coastal shipping to develop in the UK;
- established that, in order to address the requirement for high service frequency and to counteract the market share challenge, moderate rather than large capacity vessels may need to be considered (i.e. capacity under 100 trailers);
- estimated that the actual cost of the high-speed sea transport leg works out at approximately one half of total door-to-door trailer-slot costs.
By implication, a major portion of door-to-door coastal shipping costs actually relates to road haulage, or the combined transport element of the trip. Compared to the cost of road haulage, sea transport costs (i.e. for the sea leg alone, ignoring combined transport costs) are more competitive per trailer-km for any ship type. An important conclusion to be drawn from this study is that, while there would be considerable environmental benefits to be gained from moving targeted volumes of
Based on the findings from this study, as a starting point the government would need to consider the following options:
- Measures to reduce local road haulage costs to/from ports, perhaps combined with measures to increase long-distance road haulage costs;
- Measures to assist in provision of adequate port infrastructure;
- Measures to share some of the risk with the private sector for investment in ships, and to assist service start-up costs.
To allow sea transport to compete and overcome market distortions in terms of low land transport costs, this research suggested that the government would need to introduce some form of financial support scheme mainly targeted towards unaccompanied trailers. Such support would appear to conform with EU rules and policy regarding expansion of short sea shipping and road to sea modal shift.