For the next three years, Port of Aalborg will be part of a major EU research project. This became clear when experts from the EU Commission recently selected a project proposal which aims to meet the EU’s aspirations to remove freight from Europe’s roads by optimising transport via Europe’s inland waterways.
The winning project is the result of a collaboration between 12 organisations from Denmark, Norway, Finland and Germany, and it involves shipping companies, ports and universities. The project proposal is named ‘Advanced efficient and green inter-modal system’ (AEGIS), and its purpose is to develop a new and more sustainable concept for short sea shipping in Europe by designing smart technologies and automated solutions.
Jesper Raakjær, Director of Development at Port of Aalborg, explains that the port’s role will be to act as a test platform for the solutions and technologies that are developed during the project:
‘AEGIS is a visionary project whose objective is to modernise and climate-optimise Europe’s transport sector, and this fits very well indeed with Port of Aalborg’s own work and our own goals for greening and optimisation of our business. We’re very much looking forward to contributing and, not least, to evolving in terms of short sea shipping. Shipboard transport and rail transport are the best alternatives to transporting goods by lorry, and the greatest unrealised potential for radically reducing road congestion and pollution is to be found on the short routes in particular.’
Specifically, the project with Port of Aalborg as a case will demonstrate how we can design and technologically equip a so-called intermodal, automated, green terminal to make waterborne transport more attractive.
‘The project will provide a proposal for construction of a new, fully automated terminal, able to handle RORO, container and bulk transport via short sea services and the rail network, both of which offer great potential for making the transport sector greener. It may even help us become the market leader in intelligent freight handling and technology, which will strengthen our ability to attract large Danish and international companies to Aalborg,’ Jesper Raakjær explains.
AEGIS is funded through Horizon 2020 which, with a total budget of EUR 75 million, is the largest funding programme for research and innovation in the history of the EU. Both the application process and the upcoming execution of the project are coordinated by the Norwegian consulting company SINTEF OCEAN, one of Europe’s largest, independent research institutions with extensive experience from other EU projects.
In addition to Port of Aalborg, Aalborg is lending another of its institutions to the project: Aalborg University’s Centre for Blue Governance will take on a leading role to support and develop the political and legal basis on which the AEGIS projects will be based.
‘The Centre for Blue Governance will help us figure out how to achieve the objectives of the project in compliance with legal and policy concerns. The aim is to gain a better understanding of how to increase our collaboration with authorities and industries, to create a greener agenda in shipping in the future,’ says Jan P M van Tatenhove, professor at Aalborg University and Head of the Centre for Blue Governance.
The project was launched on 1 June.
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