The Advanced, Efficient and Green Intermodal Systems (AEGIS), a three-year project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, marked its official start on 1 June 2020
The project is focused on creating technologically advanced waterborne trading lanes in Europe by connecting autonomous ships with automated port services. Small ships and inland barges can offer an alternative to road transport and reduce pollution while operating on batteries or non-carbon fuels.
The consortium envisions using automated ports and terminals to integrate larger, long-distance ship operations with new and smaller ship types, with the end goal of providing flexible, user centric transport, improved services to rural and urban areas and revitalising ports and city terminals.
AEGIS use cases, located in north Europe, represent typical shortsea inter-European transport that needs to be linked to local distribution systems, the consortium said in a statement.
Case A is led by North Sea Container Lines in co-operation with Norway’s Port of Trondheim. It uses small cargo shuttles to link coastal container ships to rural and urban destinations. Case B is led by DFDS and will link roro shortsea services in BeNeLux to inland waterways. Case C is led by Port of Aalborg in co-operation with Port of Vordingborg and will examine how existing ports can use automation to facilitate the transfer of cargo from trucks to sea.
The consortium said it plans to leverage a multidisciplinary team to integrate new innovations from connected and automated transport (CAT) to design a competitive waterborne transport system in Europe. This will includes more diverse sizes of ships and more flexible ship systems, automated cargo handling, ports and shortsea shuttles, standardised cargo units and new digital technologies.
The AEGIS consortium comprises 12 partners from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Germany. In addition to the use case owners, the consortium consists of technology providers Kalmar and MacGregor (both part of Cargotec), Grieg Connect and Institut für Strukturleichtbau und Energieeffizienz, Technical University of Denmark, Aalborg University and SINTEF Ocean as research partners. The project is co-ordinated by SINTEF Ocean in Norway
AEGIS has received €7.5M (US$8.5M) in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. The Horizon programme is also funding autonomous shipping projects in Norway.
As a participant in the project, Macgregor offering development manager Janne Suominen said "More automation in cargo handling on board vessels and in ports is decisive for a shift towards waterborne logistics systems in inter-European cargo transports.”
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