CREATE3S is the title of a new research project funded by the European Commission. Bringing together some of the leading companies in short sea shipping and ship design, CREATE3S aims to develop a new generation of short sea vessels utilising advanced design and manufacturing techniques thus enabling Europe to strengthen its shipping and shipbuilding competitiveness. The project is being coordinated by Samskip Multimodal Container Logistics BV in Rotterdam and the company says it intends to be a prominent user of the concept.
With trade between European countries growing rapidly, the increasing volumes of cargo being shipped over relatively short distances require major rethinking on the part of shipping companies and ports. Larger ships are required and for them to be efficient, faster cargo handling concepts are needed. Otherwise ships will end up spending more time in port than at sea. The CREATE3S concept envisages a vessel consisting of two principal modules: a ship hull module and one or more large cargo modules. The CREATE3S concept is intended to be equally applicable to container, dry bulk and liquid cargoes.
When the vessel arrives in port, it will be possible to separate quickly the cargo modules from the ship section, placing them on the quay. The ship module is then mated with other cargo modules for the return voyage. In this way, time in port for the more expensive component - the ship module with its crew, machinery and bridge/navigation systems, will be minimised. The cargo units can then be unloaded and made ready for the next vessel call.
This approach will combine the ability for a ‘standard ship design’ to be tuned to very different trades and commodities whilst using advanced construction techniques such as the ‘industrial’ fabrication of large series of standardised basic modules. This is expected to reduce both operational and manufacturing costs. Production lead-times should also be trimmed by about 10%.
The most revolutionary feature of the CREATE3S concept is the potential to transfer the complete cargo load in just one move. However, for certain vessel applications, it is possible that there may be more than one cargo module - e.g. in the case of bulk liquids, more than one commodity may be moving on the same vessel or it may even be practical to mix bulk and container modules on the same sailing. The key feature remains that the individual cargo unit being discharged in one move will be far bigger than today where the maximum size unit is typically a 45ft container or 20ft ISO tank. The CREATE3S modular concept will be applied to a variety of cargo types including intermodal load units (containers), dry bulk and liquids including petroleum products, chemicals and liquefied gas.
Safety and sustainability are also being investigated and accommodated through a comprehensive risk assessment and integration of solutions that facilitate reduced energy consumption, emissions and waste. The new generation vessels will be assessed on their operational and ecological performance in relation to total cost of ownership (including production cost) utilising advanced design and simulation techniques.