Smart Shipping Challenge: step towards smart and safe inland shipping

Inland shipping is an indispensable link in the logistics chain. Some 40 per cent of all freight is already being transported by water. And this share needs to be expanded. A smarter use of technology will render transport by water safer, more efficient, and more sustainable.

This has prompted Rijkswaterstaat, the executive agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, to challenge businesses, educational establishments, and knowledge institutes to embark on “smart shipping”. During a Smart Shipping Challenge, held on 30 November in the port of Rotterdam, the shipping sector presented the first ground-breaking results of smart innovations, such as highly automated vessels.

Cleaner, safer, and more efficient shipping
Smart shipping will make a significant contribution to the sustainability and safety of transportation by water. The development of electric engines is helping to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Gearing travel plans to lock, bridge, and terminal schedules will also boost cleaner shipping. Sophisticated systems will take over part or all of the captain’s duties. This will help prevent accidents ensuing from human error.
Smart shipping enables the inland shipping sector to strengthen its competitive position vis-à-vis road and rail transport; furthermore, it will reinforce the Dutch maritime sector’s competitive position on the world stage.

Smart shipping
During the Smart Shipping Challenge, several small and large “self-sailing” vessels will be presented that are capable of highly automated communication, response, and anticipation of their environment. However, smart shipping is not just about self-sailing vessels. The Smart Shipping Challenge will also focus a great deal of attention on developments in sustainable electric sailing, the use of data to optimise traffic management, and smart solutions to automatic inspections and monitoring.