Novel inland waterway transport concepts for moving freight effectively

D2.4 – Development of the NOVIMOVE logistics innovations

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Executive Summary

As elaborated on in Deliverable D2.1, WP2 of the NOVIMOVE project has two main goals: Firstly, it deals with the development of the overall simulation model in which the different NOVIMOVE innovations are assessed. Secondly, WP2 also develops innovative solutions for enhancing the IWT container logistics. These developments are:

  • Cargo consolidation function for enhancing containers’ load factors. This development will ensure the best possible load factors without exceeding container weight requirements. In addition, it will also ensure that cargo in the same container will have destinations as close as possible.
  • IWT container port logistics. These developments are related to reduce the waiting time of inland barges in seaports as it causes a diminishing attractiveness of IWT for logistics managers. Solutions will include:
    o (i) mobile terminals where smaller badges of cargo are consolidated from inland barges. These inland container barges have to wait less and the mobile terminal can offer bigger call sizes at deep-sea terminals.
    o (ii) smaller container vessels operating in parallel at various container terminals and, when finished with loading, forming a vessel train, and leaving the port towards a common destination. This approach builds on the EU-project NOVIMAR.

For the work related to the development of the cargo consolidation tool existing cargo consolidation software is updated to serve the specific needs for the NOVIMOVE project. These new developments are:

  • inclusion of multimodal transport options for shippers;
  • the development of a new graph database;
  • the development of an updated user interface.

These new developments are important for being able to plan and execute consolidation/reconstruction processes, and these new developments are tested for Elkem, a shipper in the NOVIMOVE consortium. For Elkem different scenarios will be tested via the NOVIMOVE simulation model (D.2.2 and D.2.3). In order to do that, the cargo consolidation system needs to be included in the NOVIMOVE simulation model (D.2.5). In order to do that, also the way the cargo consolidation software can be included in the model is developed. With respect to development of the improved inland waterway container port logistics it was concluded that waiting times of barges are not a major issue, which makes that there is no need to further investigate the need to deploy mobile terminals or to apply the vessel train (VT) concept to mitigate waiting time problems at inland ports.

When it comes to the improved deep-sea port operations using mobile terminals and vessel trains, a geospatial analysis to determine the main problem of waiting times and multiple berth calls in Antwerp and Rotterdam is conducted. From this analysis, it was concluded that there is a serious issue with waiting times in the two major seaports. The reasons for these delays are a few interdependent specific factors that are linked to the deep-sea port:

  • A major factor in the handling problems of inland container ships at major seaports is the long waiting times at seaport terminals.
  • Another category of challenges inland vessels face in seaports refers to the temporal organization of incoming and outgoing inland vessels at the sea terminals.

The above-mentioned major challenges are addressed with various countermeasures, which can be categorized in four main categories of solution approaches: feed coordination and control regime, consolidation in dedicated terminals, inter-terminal transfer services, and further measures, mainly from digitalization.

Some of the above-mentioned approaches have been implemented, but still there are waiting times in deep-sea ports. Therefore, it can be justified to developed new solutions to mitigate these waiting times and to improve the attractiveness of the container transport via the inland waterways. One of these possible solutions is the usage of the mobile terminal (MT) concept. For this concept two cases are developed:

  • No inland vessels at deep-sea terminal berths. In this application of the mobile terminal, inland vessels are not calling at the deep-sea terminals, but the cargo is offloaded at the mobile terminals.
  • Mobile terminal as a floating consolidation. The second application of the MT is similar to the first application, but in this case, not all containers are offloaded from the inland vessel at the MT, but only the small call sizes.

For this mobile terminal concept, the evaluation method is developed (what are the cost and benefits of this concept) and it is also determined how the mobile terminal concept can be included in the NOVIMOVE model.
With respect to the application of the Vessel Train concept in a deep-sea port area, it can be concluded that, theoretically, the main benefits of this concept are:

  • a reduction in barge waiting time at deep-sea ports.
  • benefits of improved navigation operations due to the implementation of the VT.

In order to quantify the first benefit, all cargo needs to be consolidated at vessel level (all the cargo in one ship is loaded for one destination inland port). This approach is similar to what is used in the NOVIMAR project. For this application, also, the main costs and benefits are determined and it is determined how this can be included in the NOVIMOVE simulation model.

When it comes to the benefits of improved navigation of inland vessels departing from deep-sea port towards the hinterland, it can be concluded that there can be benefits, but that the VT operations are left out of scope in the NOVIMOVE project, as was decided in D.1.1.

The output of this deliverable serves as an input for NOVIMOVE Task T.2.5 in which these and other NOVIMOVE innovations (developed in WP3 and WP4) are included in the main simulation model. With the inclusion of the different NOVIMOVE innovation in the overall simulation model the full analysis can be presented in D.2.7.

D2.4 – Development of the NOVIMOVE logistics innovations
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