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NOVel Iwt and MARitime transport concepts

Project description

Exploiting inland waterways for shipping cargo

Taking advantage of inland waterway shipping routes would not only reduce road traffic volume and emissions but could create market opportunities for SMEs. The EU-funded NOVIMAR project aims to develop a model concept for inland and short sea shipping operations. It is based on a vessel train with one fully manned leader vessel and several follower vessels that are unmanned. It will be possible for vessels to connect and disconnect with the train at different points along the waterway. The concept will include measuring, control and communication systems, and navigation aids. It is estimated that it will cut crew costs and require limited infrastructure investment.


NOVIMAR aims to adjust inland/short-sea shipping such that it can make optimal use of the waterborne system of waterways, vessels and ports/terminals. To achieve this NOVIMAR introduces the waterborne version of 'platooning', the Vessel Train. This is in essence a number of unmanned Follower Ships with own sailing/manoeuvring capabilities being temporarily led by a manned Leader Ship. Vessels will be able to join and leave such trains at places adjacent to their points of origin and destination at seaside or inland. Envisaged main benefits and impacts are: Reduction of crew costs result in up to 47% total cost reduction for IWT and up to 88% crew cost reduction for short sea transport, Enhanced Logistic flexibility, 10-15 % Less energy use/emissions, Solutions for overcoming barriers between transport modes and High potential for reducing road congestion and associated costs. Lower costs increases the attractiveness of small vessels at sea and inland, hereby increasing access to urban areas located at small waterways (CEMT I/II), with no need for sizeable investments in infrastructures. SME’s benefits include enhanced competitiveness and improved working conditions for vessel owners/operators, and market opportunities for equipment suppliers. NOVIMAR technology developments include measuring, control and communication systems, and navigation aids for IWT use. NOVIMAR work structure contains 5 technical Work Packages dedicated to the Transport system, Impact assessment, Navigation, Cargo systems and vessels, and Safety and human skills issues. The consortium contains 22 partners: logistic operators, industry, public bodies and research organisations from 7 EU and 2 associated countries. The project duration is 48 months, required funding is €7,9 million.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 661 250,00
3011 XB Rotterdam

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Groot-Rijnmond
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 661 250,00

Participants (23)