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AEGIS looks at combining autonomous ships with automated ports

The Advanced, Efficient and Green Intermodal Systems (AEGIS), a three-year project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, aimed at creating advanced trade lanes by connecting autonomous ships with automated port services marked its official start on 1 June.

The focus of the AEGIS project is on integrating smaller ships, inland transport and short-sea shipping with larger terminals to create a completely new European transport system. The project’s anticipated completion is 31 May 2023.

The project received a $8.6m (EUR7.5m) grant from the EU in March this year, as the EU aims to accelerate its efforts to shift road transport volumes to rail and waterborne transport in line with the EU Transport White Paper.

The project contemplates using small ships and inland barges to decongest roads, reduce noise and dust pollution, while operating on batteries or other non-carbon fuels.

The AEGIS use cases are located in North Europe and represent typical short sea transports that need to be linked to local distribution systems.

The AEGIS consortium comprises 12 partners from four countries: Norway, Denmark, Finland and Germany. The project is coordinated by SINTEF Ocean in Norway. In addition to the use case owners, the consortium consists of technology providers Cargotec and MacGregor (cranes and cargo equipment), Grieg Connect (Digital integration) as well as ISE, DTU, AAU and SINTEF Ocean as research partners.

“Increasing the level of automation in cargo handling onboard vessels and in ports is critical in terms of developing waterborne logistics systems in inter-European cargo transport. We expect that our involvement in AEGIS will provide valuable input for our strategic initiatives to develop world-leading cargo handling technology for connected and automated transport,” Janne Suominen, manager, offering development, MacGregor.

“We want to help smaller ports and inland cargo logistics operators to address the challenges they are facing, which include congestion and scaling problems due to heavy road traffic, ever-larger vessel sizes and increasingly limited storage space as well as labour cost and availability,” Lasse Eriksson, vice president, technology, Kalmar Mobile Solutions.