Skip to main content

NOVel Iwt and MARitime transport concepts

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NOVIMAR (NOVel Iwt and MARitime transport concepts)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

NOVIMAR strives to introduce a new waterborne transportation concept that can make optimal use of existing short-sea, sea-river and inland waterways, thus expanding the entire waterborne transport chain up and into the urban environment. To achieve this aim, the concept of a vessel train is investigated. Such a vessel train consists of one fully manned leader vessel and a number of follower vessels, operating with a reduced crew.

Waterborne transport is a major enabler to reduce or resolve the stagnation in transport infrastructures such as ports and terminals, and the road networks. HORIZON 2020 topic MG-2.3-2016 1 states that “Short sea, river and canal transport can offer particular opportunities (…) in terms of operations (…) that can improve safety and address current employment challenges and the competitiveness of SMEs in the sector”.

To exploit these opportunities waterborne transport needs to overcome “the traditional barriers between transport modes” and “(…) to work on the (…) expansion and optimisation of the entire (waterborne) transport chain, including in the urban environment”. The specific challenge is “bringing waterborne much deeper into multi-modal transport concepts, in particular to the benefit of domestic shipping and inland navigation”.

To address this challenge, NOVIMAR’s main objectives are defined as:
• Defining a new waterborne transport system based on vessel train operations. This will be developed by use of a transport simulation model and performance indicators for full cost-benefit analysis. Further attention will be given to operational aspects and human factors.
• Providing command and control systems for the vessel train and a navigational aid providing an actual river map including water depths.
• Developing new concepts for roll-on/roll-off (RORO) cargo systems and vessels.
• Developing a vessel train handbook.
The NOVIMAR concept was developed further and materialized into applicable concepts. This resulted in the definition of initial requirements and performance indicators that became leading for the activities within the different Work Packages.

By the end of the second project period (month 36) the following results were achieved:

• Development of the Overarching Decision Aiding Model which is used to assess different variants of vessel train operations, used in the new waterborne transport system.
• Building a vessel train transport model evaluating the business economical potential.
• Intermediate assessment of the vessel train concept.
• Development of an operational and technical VT command and control system.
• Creation of a navigational aid system providing both live and forecast river water depth information and operational information for optimal routing.
• Research on the hydrodynamic ship-ship interaction and effect of inland vessels sailing in close formation.
• Definition of a new multi model cargo system with enhanced stowage and turn-around capabilities: the NOVIMAR cargo handling vehicle and the RORO cargo transfer platform.
• The preliminary design of five RORO vessels.
• Extensive safety, cybersecurity, human impact and man machine interface assessment leading to recommendations for further design improvements
• Engagement of key stakeholders in a structural dialogue.
• Set-up and maintenance of the NOVIMAR website.
• Publications, papers, presentations, animations and video presentations.
From a technical point of view, NOVIMAR is expected to develop a command and control system that enables the operation of vessel trains at sea and on inland waters. In addition a real time water depth information system for rivers as overlay on the electronic chart is foreseen. This will help the skipper to decide on the amount of cargo that his ship can transport. These technologies will create business opportunities for transporting goods with vessels that are (partially) unmanned and controlled by a manned lead vessel.

From a transport chain and economical point of view, NOVIMAR is expected to deliver an Overarching Decision Aiding Model. This model will be used to assess the different variants of the vessel train, using NOVIMAR transport models and defined performance indicators. In this assessment particular attention will be given to operations with smaller ships that transport goods on smaller rivers and canals into urban areas and assess the vessel train economic potential against other modalities like road and rail. As a final outcome, the analyses done with this model will lead to a vessel train handbook that enables potential users to assess if and how they can successfully apply a vessel train for specific transport scenarios.

From a ship design point of view NOVIMAR is expected to deliver guidelines for vessels and cargo systems to be used in the vessel train transport system.

From a societal point of view NOVIMAR is expected to deliver insight in safety issues related to the exploitation of vessel trains under operational circumstances and the required human skills to operate these trains.
The ODAM Structure