E.U. Funds Next Step in Digital Traffic Control


Published Jul 14, 2015 7:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

The E.U. has decided to contribute 21 million Euros ($23 million) to the Sea Traffic Management (STM) Validation Project. STM is developing the information technology platforms needed to boost voyage planning and traffic flow in shipping. The project aims to overcome many of the current challenges in communication and information sharing that exist between stakeholders in the maritime transport industry.

Test beds in Northern Europe and Mediterranean Sea will engage 300 vessels, 10 ports of different sizes and three shore centers. These will validate the STM concept and pave the way for smooth deployment of new collaborative services previously unknown to sea transport but existing for many years in other transport sectors.

The preceding E.U. MONALISA projects have brought advancements in technology and digital innovation to the maritime sector. The first MONALISA project, implemented in 2010-2013, showed that providing vessels with the ability to see each other’s planned routes gives navigators a more complete picture of how surrounding vessels will influence their onward voyage. 

From this picture, shore services are able to retrieve valuable information and offer advice to vessels on their routes, such as recommendations to avoid congestion in areas with high traffic, avoidance of environmentally sensitive areas and maritime safety information.

The MONALISA 2.0 project has defined STM, assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the current maritime ship and transport systems, operations and interactions and defined a target concept and key performance indicators for four STM strategic enablers:

1. Voyage management services will provide support to individual ships in both the planning process and during a voyage including: route planning, route exchange and route optimization services.

2. Flow management services will support both land organizations and ships in optimizing overall traffic flow through areas of dense traffic and areas with particular navigational challenges.

3. Port Collaborative Decision Making (Port CDM) services will increase the efficiency of port calls and departures for all stakeholders through improved information sharing, situational awareness, optimized processes and collaborative decision making during port calls and departures.

4. SeaSWIM (System Wide Information Management) will ensure interoperability of (STM) services facilitating data sharing using a common information environment and structure (e.g. the Maritime Cloud).

The STM concept has been defined within the MONALISA 2.0 project where a technical protocol for route exchange has been developed and is undergoing international standardization. This is a pre-requisite for further development and deployment of Sea Traffic Management.

Europe has a leading position in traffic management solutions and e-Navigation globally. The potential to explore the benefits of STM and deploying STM Services are great, both for European industry and the whole global society.

“True demonstrations of the value of Sea Traffic Management services will help avoid setbacks in deployment and make industry and other important stakeholders engage fully,” says Magnus Sundström, Project Leader of the STM Validation Project.

The STM Validation Project encompasses 39 partners (private, public and academic) from 13 countries and with a total budget of 43 million Euros ($47 million). The project will run from 2015 to 2018.

More information on the project is available here.