Promote and facilitate shift of cargo from road to sea based intermodal transport, and to improve accessibility within the North Sea Region by supporting the implementation of MoS and related transport networks in integrated logistical chains.
The existing transport network in Europe cannot absorb the forecasted increase in freight volumes. It is therefore essential to develop alternative, more sustainable and cost efficient transport systems in order to alleviate congestion and reduce emissions harming Europe’s economy and environment. Against this background the European Commission Transport White Paper from 2001 called for a shift of balance between the transport modes in favour of sea-based intermodal transport, and for decoupling economic and transport growth. These concerns were addressed by introducing the Motorways of the Sea (MoS) concept.
MoS is intended to concentrate flows of freight on sea-based logistical routes with a view of reducing road congestion and/or improve access to peripheral and island regions.
The experience so far indicates at least five problem areas that should be addressed in order to make the MoS function as envisaged:
- Different transport corridors and axes are not treated in a sufficiently coherent manner, overlooking how the single corridor has to function as part of an overall transport network.
- The sea leg is not sufficiently integrated into the overall logistics chain, lacking proper linkages to hinterland connections.
- The effectiveness of intermodal transport chains are suffering from lack of cooperation and communication between the various actors in the hubs, as well as from missing infrastructure and administrative bottlenecks.
- Intermodal transport is conceived by the market as costly and time consuming, often overlooking the savings in the total transport chain.
- The understanding of what characterises a MoS (as opposed to short sea shipping services) and what could make up a MoS project is sometimes lacking in the private sector.
The project addressed these problems both at a strategic overall level in the work packages (WP) and at a more concrete practical level through implementation of demonstration projects (DP).
However, the demonstration projects also had a strategic purpose, in particular by involving the private sector. This provided a basis for innovative processes in a public-private-partnership, cross sector and cross level setting, improving competitiveness and job creation.