Learn what is Short Sea Shipping and its benefits
The fast-growing inshore shipping industry in Europe is part of a global pattern in which countries and regions as a whole are driving more efficient and economical transportation systems. The extended short sea shipping network brings land transportation to the sea and relaxes the rail and road network to enable faster, cheaper and environmentally friendly transportation of goods.
Short Sea Transport-History and Definition
There is no standard definition for short sea shipping (SSS). However, it is commonly described as commercial water transport that does not pass through the sea or deep sea. Inshore transportation routes use coastal and inland waterways to transport goods to national ports or neighboring countries.
With international trade and the import and export of goods, SSS is growing globally. However, inshore transportation is not a new concept. This continues to be the traditional maritime transport practice used to move people and goods from one port to another. These early merchant ships had minimal cargo capacity compared to today and were largely dependent on wind and tide. It is very unreliable because it is mainly sailing along the coastline and the schedule is very unstable and unpredictable.
Due to the nature of the ship and climate change, it was a common problem for ships carrying supplies and crew to get lost in the sea.
Over the last 200 years, coastal transport has evolved significantly. Large and sturdy vessels were important not only for modern transportation, but also for increasing cargo volumes. Currently, more types of cargo can be moved on a more fixed schedule within the SSS network. Merchant ships have become crucial to the local economy as an attractive complement to road and rail freight transport, which has improved significantly since the 1950s. Technology that is improved daily has increased the safety and responsibility of SSS transportation and has become a seamless international transportation system link.
Benefits of Short Sea transportation
There are many reasons to expand the SSS route, including environmental and economic benefits.
Most developed countries rely on national roads to carry cargo from one point to another. The overall problem is exacerbated by the increased annual freight movement brought about by the expansion of world trade. To meet this demand, additional trucks will be required to cover the transportation of the next freight, increasing highway congestion, travel time, and freight inefficiency. In addition, the environmental impact of accelerated traffic should not be underestimated.
Inshore transportation serves as an alternative. An important part of the SSS policy is the “Marco Polo Concept”, which aims to reduce road congestion and increase sustainability. Benefits of Short sea shipping include improved fuel efficiency and overall reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, air pollutant (CAC) emissions, traffic congestion, and transportation-related noise.
In addition to the environment, regional and national economies benefit through SSS. In addition to being a cheaper way to transport large quantities of goods, it also increases the business revenues of local shipping and freight companies and the profits of local producers. Another important point is, for example, the tax revenue sources of countries where the SSS network can be expanded.
Short sea Shipping in Europe and the world
Maritime transport has been an important catalyst for economic development in European history. Almost 75% of Europe’s foreign freight trade is by sea. Already, SSS transports 33% of ton-kilometers between Europe, and there is a growing tendency to ship via SSS.
With the growing need and demand for alternatives to road and rail transport within Europe, the major MSCs of today’s shipping companies have embarked on an SSS epidemic and expanded their fleet for inter-European transport networks. For MSC, the combination of delivery services and inland operations has enabled us to provide seamless door-to-door delivery solutions for businesses of all sizes. The MSC network alone extends to the Mediterranean and northern Europe.
The network between Europe and Asia is also continually expanding. Over the last decade, eight countries in the Arabian Gulf have been linked. Southeast Asia is following this trend by connecting various ports such as Thailand. Inshore transportation as a transportation niche is becoming more relevant, and given the promise to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions in world trade, it is time for more mainstream adoption.