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Entwicklungszentrum für Schiffstechnik und Transportsysteme e.V.


Concepts for logistics and ship transport along the Ruhr River

Development of a planning tool that allows water areas in ports to be optimized in favor of new logistics areas on land without adversely affecting navigational safety and maneuvering times.

Innovation points

  • Development of a concept that uses the technical possibilities of modern inland vessels to reduce the need for water areas in the port in favor of new logistics areas at land.
  • Utilizing the port of Duisburg as a hub into the Ruhr region with possible ports of call in other ports (e.g., Essen and Dortmund).
  • Utilizing state-of-the-art simulation techniques to solve the space problem of the Ruhr ports.
  • Reduced environmental impact by promoting a multimodal transport chain with environmentally friendly inland vessels.
  • Full sustainable use of the innovative ship handling simulator of the DST.


  • The concept meets many of the objectives of the NRW port concept and the strategy paper of the Metropole Ruhr, such as:
  • Improving the competitiveness of the ports by creating new areas for logistics companies.
  • Developing contemporary port concepts to make better use of existing infrastructure.
  • Strengthening the hinterland function of the Metropole Ruhr.

The higher transport share of inland navigation leads to ecological advantages, such as

  • Relief for the road mode of transport;
  • Reduction of resource consumption and emissions (including CO2).

Work steps Ports need more space; however, the development of new land areas near ports is often opposed by urban planning or environmental protection concerns. Since the layout and size of port basins often date back to the days of tugboat navigation, a critical look at these retained water areas may well allow them to be converted into value-added land areas without adversely affecting the navigational safety of current and future inland vessels. This can be tested without the need for constructional changes – neither on the original nor on the model – by means of computer simulations. To this end, simulations were carried out on two levels in this project:

Nautical simulation

  • Implementation of present and future ship models in the simulator of the DST.
  • Depending on the port topology and the operating personnel, the simulator is used to determine the standard space requirements for maneuvers.
  • Based on standard maneuvers and steady-state sailing conditions, a “construction kit” for port design is created.
  • Validation of the enhanced design strategy.
  • Optional training of the crew.

Traffic simulation

  • Determination of the situation of traffic accessibility of the newly created land areas
  • Analysis of the existing and expected capacities
  • Simulation analysis of the traffic connection
  • Interconnection with the supra-regional traffic network
  • Possible development of appropriate guidance systems
  • Design of appropriate guidance systems to optimize the traffic flow
  • Test with simulation environment
  • Definition of a detailed draft

Project duration:

  • July 2009 – May 2012

Funding framework:

  • EU-NRW Target 2 (EFRE) funding competition “Logistik.NRW”


Collaborative partners:

The CLUSTER project was funded as part of the EU-NRW Target 2 ( EFRE) funding competition “Logistik.NRW”.

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    Development Centre for
    Ship Technology and Transport Systems

    Oststr. 77
    47057 Duisburg

    Tel.: +49 (0)203 - 99 36 9 - 0
    Fax: +49 (0)203 - 99 36 9 - 70

    E-Mail: dst@dst-org.de