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Demonstration of an Innovative concept for high quality Transport of Perishable Agro Food Liquids inducing a Modal shift to Short Sea and River transport

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - Agro Highway (Demonstration of an Innovative concept for high quality Transport of Perishable Agro Food Liquids inducing a Modal shift to Short Sea and River transport)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2018-02-28

Agro Highway: Demonstration of an Innovative concept for high quality Transport of Perishable Agro Food Liquids inducing a Modal shift to Short Sea and River transport

The Agro Highway provides a new, innovative mode of transport for perishable food liquids that will enable a disruptive breakthrough for transport and agriculture. The Agro Highway will develop, demonstrate and validate an aseptic, temperature controlled, quality monitoring, self-loading cargo system that will stimulate a shift in transport from road to water. The Agro Highway consortium aims to:
• provide a flexible, maritime transport solution for perishable agro food liquids;
• reduce costs for transport over middle to long distances;
• increase the maximum transport distance and capacity. This is especially important for milk, the most important EU agro product. Increase of the maximum transport distance, will allow producers to reach new markets upon release of the milk quota;
• optimize the supply chains, by reducing the necessity of pre- and post-processing and eliminating packaging waste while improving product quality and reducing their environmental impact.

Together, this will result in a higher market value of the transported goods and completely new market opportunities for the EU transport and agricultural sector.

The project will:
• offer growth opportunities and new business opportunities for both SMEs directly involved in the project and connected third parties (mostly SMEs) that provide materials and services, increasing their profitability; in 2026 over € 100 mln/year of turnover will be created for the participants and their subcontractors;
• accelerate market uptake and investments by the direct involvement of end users, financers and investors, lining up all the key players necessary for upscaling and commercializing the Agro Highway;
• create new and improved business opportunities and open up new markets for the transport and agro sector, improving the EU’s market position and potential;
• result in over 1.400 new jobs by 2026 with the participants and their subcontractors.

The conclusions on the action are that the overall aim of the Agro Highway to develop, demonstrate and validate a new mode of transport for perishable agro food liquids is reached. Within the project we build a life size cargo system and installed it in a ship. We demonstrated and validated the new mode of transport with very good results. The commercial target groups were reached during the whole project with a result of the first contract signed. The new methode will be implemented for short term sailings with juice and long term sailings with milk.
Further capitalization and additional need of finance are the next steps into commercialisation. The direct involvement of the end users during the project did make the creation and improvement of new business oppertunities possible.

The Horizon 2020 project was the key in the development of this new mode of transport.
The design of the Agro Highway project has been made. This design has also been analysed and tested on various aspects. An engineering stress test was performed on the final design, for example to analyse whether the thickness of various steel parts were adequate. Also stability calculations were performed. An investigation was made in the EU regulations regarding the transport of food liquids in general. Some findings were also of importance in the design, specifically concerning the hygiene and cleaning aspects of the transport.
Demo sailings were perfomed for juice and milk transport. Milk was transported over short, middle and long distance. Sampling was structuraly done during the demo sailings. These samples were analysed, together with the other variables from the sailings. Results were discussed with the Advisory Board and with the key players.

The expected outcomes of the project were all reached!
- Construction, testing and validation of the cargo system was done succesfully
- Quality control systems are tested to be working well and crew knows how to handle the load.
- We can conclude that the proof of concept and validation of the cargo system are reached cum laude.
- We did not only have the determination of the costs for the demonstrated and validated transport to compare to other options, but we made business cases with our end users.
- Additional investors are in line and meetings are planned (or have already taken place).
- For juice a long term contract was signed!
- Momentarily busy with further capitilazation of the project towards commercialisation concerning milk. Target groups were reached during the project.
The project was also wider discussed and these talks were very supportive of the earlier made impact projections of the Argo Highway project.

The direct loading concept
o will enable more intermodal transport
o will facilitate better transport of agro products within and outside EU
o can make regional (EU) products more competitive

The long distance transport of milk
o milk largest food product in the world
o milk production has a large impact
o new method enables a shift in milk production, resulting in 70% lower socio-economic impact
- will enable SME’s to grown substantially
- will contribute to economic growth in rural regions, connection is the key
- will contribute to food security