Research to Improve and Automate Short-Sea Container Supply Chain

research initiative to enhance the sustainability and efficiency of short-sea shipping in the container supply chain

Published Jul 17, 2020 7:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

The EU is providing funding through its Horizon 2020 research and innovation program for a new initiative the aims to improve the short-sea shipping component of the container supply chain. Known as MOSES (autoMated vessels and supply chain Optimisation for Sustainable short sEa Shipping) the 36 month research effort will seek innovations including innovative vessels and optimisation of logistics operations.

Three initial projects were defined for the research initiative. They will seek to develop a hybrid feeder system for short-sea shipping designed to accommodate ports do not have the means to load/unload. The feeder will be equipped with a robotic container handling system that is self-sufficient in terms of loading and unloading of containers and enhances the operational capacity of small ports.

In addition, an autonomous system for manoeuvring and docking ships (MOSES AutoDock) will be developed, which will provide operational independence from the availability of port nautical services including pilots, tugs and mooring.

A digital platform (MOSES platform) will also be developed to link demand and supply of cargo volumes (shippers, forwarders, shipping companies, ports). The platform will use machine learning and big data (availability of modes, cargo volumes and delivery times) to maximize short sea traffic.

MOSES will be validated by pilot demonstrations in relevant testing environments, supported by concrete business cases. A sustainability framework will be developed within the project for evaluating the performance and viability of the proposed innovations. This evaluation will also lead to concrete policy recommendations.

The final result of the project will be a complete redesign of the port operation based on the feeder operation with its own means of container handling and not depending on the availability of pilots or tugs to enter the port. 

The MOSES Consortium consists of 17 partners from seven EU countries, that will all be contributing to the goal of enhance sustainable short-sea shipping through achieving beyond state-of-the-art applied know-how and technological developments.

Starting this month, the project will concluded in June 2023.