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Ferries and short-sea shipping. In: Vickerman, Roger (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Transportation. vol. 3, pp. 280-285. UK: Elsevier Ltd.

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Abstract

Short sea shipping (SSS) is a concept that refers to short-range maritime transport. SSS has been the subject of detailed analysis and debate in international Transport Policy due to its capacity to articulate intermodal chains for domestic traffic in place of trucking. Due to the fact that SSS was widely assumed as the most sustainable transport option to decongest roads, European Transport Policy has supported the intermodal alternative though the Motorways of the Sea (MoS) initiative. The MoS concept includes not only seaborne transport, but also all the necessary services for modal shift in order to provide “door-to-door transport.” Even though international interest in SSS is mainly based on sustainability, recent reports have highlighted environmental under-regulation regarding trucking. This fact, along with the drawbacks of the pollutant abatement systems, constitutes a significant challenge for it to remain a preferable alternative in transport policies.

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... The relevant literature has frequently demonstrated that Short Sea Shipping (SSS) is a convenient trunk haul for intermodal transport (Trujillo and Martínez-López 2021). When this is feasible, SSS is the leading option for two main reasons: because it requires low infrastructure investment and because it can take advantage of economies of scale by using vessels. ...
... Also, from the Baltic region, Ng (2009) concluded that the feasibility of intermodal chains in the European Union (E.U.) was necessarily subject to an improvement in port efficiency. This finding was supported by Suárez-Alemán, Culliane (2014, 2015), who also concluded that the competitiveness of the whole intermodal chain (mainly determined by the attributes of time and cost -Martínez-López, Alonso, and Munín 2015b) articulated through SSS is actually [subject to the port performance as a consolidation centre of the load and modal shift centre and therefore, the port should be assumed to be an extension of the road (Trujillo and Martínez-López 2021). This last port dimension for SSS activity was also highlighted by Sambracos and Maniati (2012), who emphasized that the road network performance of port hinterlands is a key attribute for intramodality in Greek ports. ...
... However, this approach is not applicable to East Africa due to the lack of unimodal alternatives (lack of road continuity in countries). On the other hand, an evaluation of a ports' performance without considering the transport network might lead to erroneous conclusions about the feasibility of intermodal chains, since ports must be considered as an extension of the road in the chains (Sambracos and Maniati 2012;Trujillo and Martínez-López 2021). ...
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The location of East African ports, along with difficulties in building and maintaining effective road corridors, has led to the consideration of intermodal transport through Short Sea Shipping (SSS) as an alternative for load transport. However, this potential solution is dependent on the ports as consolidation load centres and on the configuration of transport networks. This paper provides a method to evaluate the performance of East African ports in their role as a hub for the intermodal chain. Specifically, through an assessment of port indicators ad hoc, the method jointly evaluates the performance of the hinterland's capillary haul and port operations. The proposed indicators aggregately consider attributes of time and cost and compare competitiveness for ports' current status with standard parameters. The application of the method to East African ports reveals that their tariff structure should be adapted to the operative reality of SSS. In addition, the loading time has not proven to be as determinant as the pre-berthing waiting time in the effectiveness of the intermodal chains.
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Recent trends in production such as global sourcing, just-in-time deliveries and fragmented production chains have determined clear patterns in relation to growth in demand for freight transport. Although road transport has adapted better to the needs of this modern economy, congestion threatens to overwhelm overland carriage and limit economic growth. The transportation industry faces the challenge of developing an efficient and effective complement to the existing road system. One possible strategy is to revitalize coastal shipping such as Short-Sea Shipping (SSS). The objective of this article is to carry out a literature review and show how SSS can alleviate traffic congestion and enhance economic development by maintaining freight flow efficiency. Because ship transport offers higher fuel economy and lower emissions of harmful pollutants, SSS is considered to be one of the most sustainable and economically competitive modes of transport.
The unbalanced evolution of the environmental normative in the European Union for the different transport modes has led to a broader debate about whether Short Sea Shipping is still a green transport mode. This discussion is especially pertinent because there is no technological alternative indisputably identified as the most adequate one to meet the emission requirements in the emission control area without penalizing the competitiveness of Short Sea Shipping. The objective of this article is to assess the performance of intermodal chains versus trucking in terms of costs, times, and externalities when the selected fleet for Short Sea Shipping is made up of optimal container vessels operating with different propulsion plants and fuels in compliance with emission control area requirements. This is, Tier III- four-stroke diesel engine with marine gas oil, a Tier III- four-stroke diesel engine Tier III with scrubber and heavy fuel oil, and a four-stroke dual engine operating with liquefied natural gas. To this aim, a mathematical model, which is able to provide optimized technical and operative features of the vessels, is modified and solved for an intermodal chain between Spain and France through the Atlantic coast. This study shows that dual liquefied natural gas engines prove to be not only the most sustainable solution but also the most suitable in terms of costs, as long as the difference in price between liquefied natural gas and petroleum fuels is equal to the base case or within a modification range of 20%. This study also highlights that due to the limited range of Short Sea Shipping vessels, the loss of the cargo capacity in holds by the gas tanks arrangement was not significant.
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The recent European regulations on emissions from heavy duty vehicles (Euro VI) along with the enforcement of ECA regulations have represented an additional challenge for the sustainability of the motorways of the sea. The main aim of this paper is to identify the optimal sizing and the most adequate propulsion plant for a fleet of feeder vessels that, by operating under motorways of the sea conditions, is able to articulate competitive intermodal chains versus the road for the door-to-door transport by ensuring the sustainability of the intermodality in the current normative framework. Thus, a mathematical model is developed to evaluate, aside from the total costs and the time invested in the transport, the environmental costs of the unimodal transport and of intermodal chains with different sizing and technologies for the vessels. The resolution of this multiobjective model was carried out with an NSGA-II algorithm in an application to a transport network between Spain and France. This application concluded that fast and small vessels with LNG propulsion plants are the most convenient to maximize the competitiveness advantage against the road alternative. Likewise, the analysis of the environmental performance of both transport systems in the application case from 2010 to 2015 shows an unfavourable environmental evolution for the intermodality.
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This work introduces an optimisation model to define the technical and operative features of fleets, which maximises the success opportunities in terms of cost and time for multimodal chains against the road. This model regards the relationships among technical alternatives for fleets, vessels, port facilities, cargo units and their influence on the activity of 'many to many' transport networks through short sea shipping. From the resolution of the model, it is possible to define not only the kind and number of vessels and cargo units, their manoeuvre means, speed and cargo handling systems, but also their naval architecture and engineering. A multiobjective evolutionary algorithm, the NSGA-II, has been applied to resolve this model as applied to multimodal chains between Spain and France through the Atlantic coast. Its application allows to verifying the utility of the model proposed. Finally, the most suitable fleets for the Sea Motorways Vigo-St. Nazaire and Gijon-St. Nazaire have been identified.
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The comparative superiority of shipping services with respect to atmospheric emissions per ton-km is beyond debate in the case of deep sea and bulk operations. The case for short sea shipping in a setting with small consignments and frequent port-calls needs to be demonstrated relative to road transport alternatives, in particular when cargo markets are fluctuating. The empirical part of this article is based on detailed shipment-level data from a current European short sea operation and data from engine reports on actual fuel consumption. The dataset enables the construction of a high-quality origin–destination matrix of pallet-based shipments. A contrafactual case of an alternative trucking operation serving this comprehensive set of shipments is constructed, and CO2 equivalent emissions to air are calculated and analysed under different scenarios. This comparative analysis illustrates just how efficient a modern short sea shipping operation needs to be in order to compete with road transport with respect to air emissions. The analysis suggests that such a pallet-based short sea shipping operation may be superior to trucking alternatives when it comes to carbon emissions under given circumstances, but not always.
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The upcoming stricter emission control area (ECA) regulations on sulphur and nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions from shipping can be handled by different strategies. In this study, three alternatives complying with the ECA regulations for sulphur as well as Tier III for NOX are presented and compared using life cycle assessment. None of the three alternatives will significantly reduce the life cycle impact on climate change compared to heavy fuel oil (HFO). However, all alternatives will reduce the impact on particulate matter, photochemical ozone formation, acidification and terrestrial eutrophication potential. The assessment also highlighted two important regulatory aspects. Firstly, the need to regulate the ammonia slip from use of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and secondly the need to regulate the methane slip from LNG engines. In addition, an analysis of the use of SCR in Swedish waters is presented showing that SCRs have been used on a number of ships already giving significantly reduced NOX emissions.
Short sea shipping is facing harder requirements on exhaust emissions in the coming years as stricter regulations are enforced in some regions of the world. In addition, shortage of conventional fuels as well as restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions makes the search for new fuels of interest. The objective of this article is to assess important characteristics to evaluate when selecting fuels for short sea shipping. The following four criteria are considered: (1) local and regional environmental impacts, (2) overall environmental impact, (3) infrastructure and (4) fuel cost and competition with other transport modes. Special focus is put on environmental impact, and life cycle assessment is used for the environmental assessment. The fuels compared in this study are heavy fuel oil, marine gas oil, biomass-to-liquid fuel, rapeseed methyl ester, liquefied natural gas and liquefied biogas. This study shows that liquefied natural gas will reduce the local and regional environmental impacts more relative to the other fuels investigated here. Furthermore, liquefied biogas is found to be the most preferable if all environmental impact categories are considered. This study also highlights the importance to consider other impact categories for short sea shipping compared to deep sea shipping and shows that NOX emission is the dominant contributor to all assessed environmental impact categories with local and regional impacts.
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Shipping has traditionally been viewed as the least environmentally damaging mode of freight transport. Recent studies have increasingly questioned this perception, as attention has focused on both the greenhouse gas emissions (mainly CO2) and the emission of health-damaging pollutants (such as sulphur, nitrogen oxides and particulates) by ships. This paper reviews the available evidence on the atmospheric emissions of shipping. It proposes that the profit objective has prompted the pursuit of greater fuel efficiency within the sector, but that reliance on market forces alone is insufficient to deliver on the environmental imperative. The paper outlines the current and planned regulatory regime for the atmospheric emissions from ships and posits that greater, and more diverse, market regulation is required. Alternative general approaches to regulatory compliance are categorised as ‘alternative sources of energy’ or ‘abatement technologies’ and the characteristics of a range of specific options are analysed. The paper concludes that although the shipping industry has been slow to improve its environmental credentials, a combination of regulation and technological innovation provides it with significant potential to dramatically reduce its environmental impact.
Motorways of the Sea: an ex-post evaluation on the development of the concept from 2001 and possible ways forward. Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE)
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