Transport Systems and Logistics
The increasing international division of labour and the growing globalisation of markets have led to an enormous increase in traffic demand. According to reliable forecasts, this development is set to continue in the future. For the transport and logistics sector, this not only means an increase in the need for transportation, but also a need for concepts for innovative logistics systems that allow efficient use of all modes of transport.
Inland and coastal shipping have usually considerable capacity reserves realizable with relatively little funding. They can therefore make a significant contribution to meeting the increasing demand for transport. This applies to the transport of bulk goods as well as to container traffic.
Primarily, this involves questions of efficiency and cost advantages of waterborne transport. Matters like fleet modernization, energy efficiency and environmental performance gain in importance.
Extensive knowledge of the ship parameters and propulsion unit is an essential prerequisite for the envisaged ‚Greening‘ of the existing inland waterways fleet. The DST addresses these issues in a European context (on a European level), e.g. within the projects PLATINA, Move-It, LNG Masterplan and MariGreen.
By for example adapting the speed to the water depth, not only technical but also behavioural approaches can contribute to a reduction of fuel consumption and emissions. The DST therefore focuses on innovative solutions for energy-efficient navigation verified by projects like Topofahrt, Smart Steaming and PROMINENT.
Another challenge is climate-change and its impacts on inland navigation, especially in the light of ever larger ships (economies of scale). Interdisciplinary approaches are needed to solve these questions and to develop proper adaptation strategies. The DST has cooperated on these issues with for example climate research (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology) and the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG).
In parallel, the cost model ‘FLUVIAL’ has been designed: It allows a reliable analysis and assessment of cost structures for various vessel types with different water depths and draughts.
Within the foreseeable future, topics like ‘Electromobility’ and ‘Autonomous Driving’ will gain in importance, also in the field of inland waterways. DST is actively contributing to shape these developments.