Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ro-Ro Terminals and Motorways of the Sea: We need to do better

Short-Sea-Shipping and Motorways of the Sea (MoS) constitute today important parts of Europe’s transport policy (TEN-T), not only in order to relieve pressure from road transport but, equally importantly, to connect third countries to the Union. Our research so far has focused on the optimization of container terminal operations. But the requirements of Ro-Ro terminals are quite different, particularly as regards scarcity of space (obviously you cannot stack trucks on top of each other…). Important research appearing soon in Maritime Economics and Logistics shows that the factors playing a fundamental role in the design and optimization of Ro-Ro terminals include ship designs; number of gates; road connections; urban traffic; urban pollution; IT systems for port-urban traffic monitoring; and customs procedures. Although truck loading/unloading operations are these days quite short, the time a truck needs to wait at the terminal is still fairly long and this, as a consequence, impinges on terminal space which, often, does not exist in many parts of the world. Problems compound exponentially in multi-user terminals, and terminal concessions are thus increasingly becoming the order of the day. HH