EMMA Extension Project Approved!

The EMMA Extension aims to enhance inland navigation in the Baltic Sea Region by supporting digitalization in inland waterway transport (IWT) and by implementing new logistic concepts in the Baltic Sea Region. The extension project is based on the results and recommendations of project EMMA (2016-2019), which brought inland navigation to a wider national and European agenda, strengthened its voice and successfully demonstrated feasibility of potential inland waterway transport services in the Baltic Sea Region. The EMMA Extension focuses on next steps towards further market deployment of IWT by capitalizing on the results and partnership of project EMMA and implementing practical IWT solutions. At the end of August, all seven project partners from Germany, Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden gathered to the old pilot station Rosenvik on the waterfront of Stockholm to plan the co-operation in enhancing inland navigation together.

In Finland, EMMA Extension implements smart fairway technology, more accurately the digitalized buoys, in the Puhos fairway in the North Karelia. During the EMMA Extension, old buoys will be replaced by smart buoys that are equipped with GPS position equipment and SIM card, enabling the transmitting of the position data to the transport management system onshore. The smart fairway will reduce the need for physical fairway inspections and save maintenance costs and most of all, increase the safety of navigation. The smart fairway is expected to be ready in the summer of 2020.

In Poland, a safe clearance system under bridges for IWW transport units will be implemented during the EMMA Extension. Measurement and telemetric sensors will be installed on at least two bridges located in Odra River in Szczecin, which will allow for a very accurate measurement of the clearance. The value of the clearance will be showed to skippers in real time using information boards. The knowledge of the conditions of passage under a certain bridge will have a positive influence on the navigation safety, route planning, passage time and the costs, since the knowledge of current clearance aids the loading process and helps to adapt the height of the cargo to the current water condition. The system will be in operation in the second half of 2020. Enriching the RIS system on the Polish side of the Oder river will in the long run also support the correlation of the Polish and German systems.

The study visits to Poland and Finland to experience and learn about functionalities of smart fairway technology and safe clearance technology will show the benefits of the newly developed systems, which could also be transferred to other interested areas.

Based on the recommendation given in the EMMA policy paper, EMMA Extension supports the further harmonization of River Information and Vessel Traffic Services (RIS/VTS) in the BSR. The EMMA Extension project links digitalized data services and functionalities such as real-time data regarding bridge clearance to ELIAS system, which was developed during the EMMA project.

The EMMA Extension also implements new logistic concepts in the Baltic Sea Region. The implementation of commercial pilot services under real business conditions in three Baltic Sea Region countries will showcase the feasibility of IWT services in supply chains and promote IWT to cargo owners and forwarders in emerging IWT markets. The pilot sailings will take place on River Neman in Lithuania, on Vistula River in Poland and on the Lake Mälaren in Sweden, showing the benefits of the IWT: high capacity, reliable transportation, lack of congestion and smaller environmental impacts. The cost-effectiveness was already demonstrated in Lithuania, where the first evaluations indicated that IWT transport is over two times cheaper compared to road transport, even under difficult navigational conditions such as low draught.

In Hammarby Sjöstad, the participants had a chance to visit M/S Jehander 1, which is used for transportation of aggregates to concrete factories in Stockholm and Lake Mälaren area. With the intake of 1420 tons, the ship can carry a load that corresponds to 100 truck loads, significantly decreasing the amount of trucks on the already congested roads. The self-discharging M/S Jehander 1 is owned by Avatar Logistics, a Swedish partner organization in EMMA Extension, which delivers logistics solutions with a focus on Lake Vänern and Lake Mälaren. Johan Lantz, CEO of Avatar Logistics, reminded the participants that project EMMA had a positive impact on the IWT development in Sweden and EMMA Extension will further contribute to overcoming the challenges such as poor knowledge about IWT and pilot regulations.

Under the lead partner Port of Hamburg Marketing, the international team of seven project partners as well as 12 associated partners consisting of national ministries, European associations, industry and regional authorities supporting them, is ready to further develop IWT services in the BSR and to turn challenges into opportunities.

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Press contact: 

Stefan Breitenbach
Port of Hamburg Markering Reg. Assoc.