Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

R.P.W. Ham Shortsea terminals
Literature survey, Report 2005.TL.6968, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

Shortsea is the modern equivalent of coastal shipping. For centuries it provided a cheap and reliable means of transporting goods along the European continent. In the 20th century, it lost its leading position to the truck, however because of the build-up of traffic on European highways, the European Union decided to make shortsea shipping one of its focus points in decreasing traffic generated by trucks through its 'Motorways of the sea' program.

The vessels in shortsea service today are relatively small compared to deepsea vessels, for they have to be able to berth at numerous port and terminals through Europe and be capable of being loaded and unloaded very rapidly, because of very low transit times. A new development is the introduction of 45' palletwide containers with special corner castings and a shortsea ship especially designed and built for those containers.

The shortsea container network is widespread throughout the entire coastline with almost all terminals having one of two or a combination of two different types of layouts.a Equipment like straddle carriers are hardly used, however containers are handled by reachstackers, and forklifters. This is because of the stack configuration, a straddle carrier cannot pickup containers from a stack that is packed together.

The shortsea initiative outside Europe viewed in this report, Oceanex, does not have the high throughput per quay length, but can still compete with truck transport, because of the long distances between urban areas in North-America, especially Canada. This is an example that shortsea can compete with the road if well equipped and adapted to the local situation.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2005.07.07; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.