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Technologies and Methodologies for Safe, Environmental-friendly and Efficient Shipping Operations of the future (INMARE)

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Transport of the future is shipshape

Road and rail systems are becoming saturated. The move to waterborne transport has been opened up by EU research that has recommended a complete overhaul of shipping systems to absorb the prospect of increased demand.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Increasing pressure on European road and rail will mean that haulage and trade will look to alternative, more sustainable forms of transport. Waterborne transport is an ideal solution and current research has been concluded to ensure that shipping can provide a safe, environmentally friendly and efficient service when the demand increases. The ′Technologies and methodologies for safe, environmental-friendly and efficient shipping operations of the future′ (Inmare) project tackled this broad challenge in discrete well defined topics. These included increased efficiency onboard and onshore and with human resources. Decision support systems (DSS) being crucial, increased backup with communications networks was explored. Finally, the Inmare team investigated means of increasing sustainability. A bottom-up approach was adopted and problems encountered by ship owners and operators were collected and translated using solutions provided by the latest research and development in academic and technical institutions. Inmare recommendations on aspects of maritime transport such as safety, security and efficiency involve increasing links to advanced high-performance but low-cost information and communication technologies (ICT). Europe ′s global navigation system, Galileo, in combination with satellite automatic identification system (AIS), is seen to be the answer to vessel traffic monitoring and information systems. Specifically, all logistics chains such as specific monitoring systems to assist in ship handling, cargo integrity and port operations′ efficiency stand to benefit from use of the high-precision positioning system. As regards lessening the pressure on human resources, Inmare recommended Internet-based training and use of software to handle labour-intensive, error-prone tasks. Administration and paper handling are obvious candidates. Furthermore, computer-assisted maintenance and DSS for harsh weather conditions can be more efficient and less stressful for staff when supported by information technology (IT) solutions. For environmental sustainability improvement, there is a wealth of advanced technologies available. Fuel cell-powered systems, alternative propulsion technologies and water treatment systems for ballast water were all examined as options. Boosting the technological input for the maritime industry will no doubt improve efficiency, safety and its ′green′ status. Freight by boat will be a more competitive option for operators and the pressure on road systems can be reduced.

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