Transport & Logistics Developments

   Short Sea Shipping developments


SSS Overview

D2.2.2.1 EU Short Sea Shipping Developments AUEB &ILS 8Sept09.pdf

European Short Sea Shipping has been defined as any carriage of goods and passengers between ports within the European Union, and between European Union and nearby countries.

European Geography is highly favourable to Short Sea Shipping, with more than 67,000 km of coastline and very few industrial centres being more than 400km from the coast. Additionally there are approximately 25,000km of navigable inland waterways.


Modal shift from road to sea has been a major objective of the EU as well as the USA freight transport policy, in the interest of reducing the load on the environment, freeing up road capacity and supporting sustainable development. Despite this, apart from very specific niches there has been less change in the market shares of rail, inland waterways or short sea, than was expected in Europe. Until now, companies have shown to be reluctant to consider major changes in the way they run their transport processes.
Current policies and business strategies for modal shift has turned to the new concepts such as “co-modality” and “business networking” and opens up new possibilities to study modal shift at a company, regional, national or continent level. European key policy actions to expand short sea shipping include:

  • Improved  integration of SSS in multi-modal, logistic transport chains  
  • Elimination of administrative barriers to the efficient operation of short sea shipping.

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   Glossary Terms


Intermodal Loading Units
Intermodal Loading Units (ILU), as the name suggests, are units by which goods can be moved between the various transport modes. They include containers, swap bodies and other purpose-build units.
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ISO container dimensions and payloads
Containers are available in common standard lengths of 20-ft (6.1 m), 40-ft (12.2 m), 45-ft (13.7 m), 48-ft (14.6 m), and 53-ft (16.2 m). United States domestic standard containers are generally 48-ft and 53-ft (rail and truck). Container capacity is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU, or sometimes teu).
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Jones Act:
Certain provisions of the US Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as Jones Act, require that any vessel operating between two US ports must be US-built, US-owned, and manned by US citizens, significantly increases the capital and the operating costs for any short sea operation.
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Motorways of the Sea
Motorways of the Sea are defined in EC communications as existing or new sea-based transport services that are integrated in door-to-door logistic chains and concentrate flows of freight on viable, regular, frequent, high-quality and reliable Short Sea Shipping links. The deployment of the Motorways of the Sea network should absorb a significant part of the expected increase in road freight traffic, improve the accessibility of peripheral and island regions and states and reduce road congestion.
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The roll-on/roll-off ship (RoRo) is as a passenger/car ferry used particularly on short-sea routes. As the name of the system implies, cars and lorries can drive straight on to a ro-ro ship at one port and off at the port on the other side of the sea within a few minutes of the ship docking. This is in contrast to lo-lo (lift on-lift off) vessels which use a crane to load and unload cargo.The roll-on/roll-off ship is one of the most successful types operating today. Its flexibility, ability to integrate with other transport systems and speed of operation have made it extremely popular on many shipping routes. According to ShipPax, in 2004, more than 1.3 billion pasengers, 188 million cars, 856,000 buses and 28.7 million trailers were carried on 5.9 million crossings globally. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RORO
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Ship Efficiency
Ship efficiency can be measured by the average ship running cost per km. The design factors influencing ship efficiency are propulsion efficiency, propeller efficiency and hull efficiency measured in operational terms by specific fuel consumption and ship speed. Operational factors affecting ship efficiency include port turnaround times and efficiency of loading, maintenance, crewing, regulations compliance
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Short Sea Promotions Centres (SPCs):
SPCs promote Short Sea Shipping as part of the intermodal transport chain. They form connections with all major actors in the field of shortsea shipping and are a channel of influence between business and authorities.
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SSS Short Sea Shipping
Shortsea shipping means the movement of cargo and passengers by sea between ports situated in geographical Europe or between those ports and ports situated in non-European countries having a coastline on the enclosed seas bordering Europe. Shortsea shipping includes domestic and international maritime transport, including feeder services, along the coast, to and from the islands, rivers and lakes.
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Trans European Transport Network to support expansion of SSS services, reducing congestion and environmental impact.
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  Additional Information for Short Sea Shipping developments
  Maritime Journal
Maritime Policy & Management
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  Koliousis Ioannis
Trant Gerry
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   Subject News
  12/10/2015 - European shortsea interests need a long-term view
27/04/2015 - E-Procurement Streamlined via the Cloud
03/03/2015 - Euro shortsea market coming off the boil
22/10/2014 - Interferry addresses industry challenges
07/10/2014 - Small container ports need to become facilitators of business
04/09/2014 - ECA regulations 'will cut container traffic on shortsea routes'
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   Linked Topics
  Finance of Transport Services

   Related Documents
  Port pricing and competitiveness in short sea shipping Stranden.pdf
A_level_playing_field_for SSS.pdf
mid-term SSS com_2006_0380_en.pdf
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   Lessons Learned
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   Information Sources
  ESC European Shippers' Council
Emissions control measures status July 11
CLECAT European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistic and Customs Services
ECSA European Community Shipowners' Associations
Port Strategy
IFW -International Freighting Weekly
EMSA - EU Maritime Safety Agency
Lloyds List
ESPO EU Sea Ports Organisation
Marco Polo Programme
ESN - European Shortsea Network
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   Related Projects
   Related Policies
  Directives for Commercial Transportation
“Programme for the Promotion of Short Sea Shipping” COM(2003) 155
   Related Products
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