CORDIS - EU research results

Safe, Efficient and Autonomous: Multimodal Library of European Shortsea and inland Solutions

Project description

A closer look at short sea shipping

Short sea shipping (SSS), which is the movement of cargo and passengers by sea between ports in geographical Europe, has environmental and economic benefits over traditional modes of transport. It contributes to the integration, cohesion and economic development of the EU’s peripheral regions. In this context, the EU-funded SEAMLESS project will develop an automated and cost-effective waterborne freight feeder service for SSS and inland waterways transport. This involves autonomous systems to shift road freight movements to waterways and enhance the trans-European transport network. The project will demonstrate the full-scale implementation of the service in real-world scenarios, evaluate sustainability and develop novel business models. It will also identify regulatory gaps and provide recommendations for policymakers.


SEAMLESS aims at developing and adapting missing building blocks and enablers into a fully automated, economically viable, cost-effective, and resilient waterborne freight feeder loop service for Short Sea Shipping (SSS) and/or Inland Waterways Transport (IWT). Autonomous systems will be integrated to ensure safe, resilient, efficient, and environmentally friendly operation to shift road freight movements to hinterland waterways, while enhancing the performance of the TEN-T network. The service will be delivered 24/7 by a fleet of autonomous cargo shuttles, with humans-in-the-loop located in Remote Operation Centres (ROCs), which efficiently cooperate with automated and autonomous shore-side infrastructure and safely interact with conventional systems. The services will rely on a redesigned logistics system enabling seamless freight flows by minimising delays at intermodal nodes. A digital bird’s eye view of the supply chain allows the exploitation of real-time information for planning optimisation and reconfiguration to support resilient logistics, incl. digitalised administrative procedures. The SEAMLESS building blocks will be verified and validated by conducting full-scale demonstrations in selected real-world scenarios. Transferability will be fully demonstrated in selected use cases that cover a wide range of transport applications and geographical regions throughout Europe. Based on a structured methodological framework evaluating sustainability criteria, they will act as guidance for the replication of the project results beyond the project scope and timespan. Novel business models will be thus developed and provide a framework for implementing the SEAMLESS service to minimise investment risk for first movers. Regulatory gaps and challenges related to autonomous vessel operation (e.g. social aspects) will be identified, and recommendations for policy makers to allow the smooth and safe deployment of fully automated services will be provided.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 104 750,00
157 80 ATHINA

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Αττική Aττική Κεντρικός Τομέας Αθηνών
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 104 750,00

Participants (31)