DigitalisationEuropeMaritime TechnologyPorts & Terminals

The preparation for automated shipping has started

As part of the two-year study RAIN, options for action for inland ports are being developed in response to the ongoing automation of inland shipping.


At a public kick-off event in Berlin on 30 January 2024, State Secretary Susanne Henckel (BMDV) ceremoniously presented the funding certificates for the RAIN (Inland Ports’ Readiness for Automated Inland Navigation) research project to DST and its partners, the German Association of Public Inland Ports (BÖB) and the Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics (ISL).

Over the past decade, the automation of inland waterway transportation has undergone a considerable maturing process, from the development of individual assistance systems for specific maneuvers to the proof of the feasibility of automated navigation on inland waterways, the functional expansion of individual systems to support vessel operational functions and the development of dedicated sensor and data concepts to the development of holistic logistics concepts with automated vessels. While development to date has been largely vessel-centered and isolated, the question of the future role of other participants in the waterway system is becoming increasingly important. In particular, the future requirements for inland ports are not yet known. This is where the RAIN feasibility study funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport in the IHATEC funding program comes in.

In the project, the research consortium, coordinated by BÖB, investigates the possible preparatory measures that German inland ports can take to prepare for the ever-increasing automation of inland shipping. With the help of the scenario technique, different future scenarios are being developed, on the basis of which the respective implications for the ports in the fields of technology, organization and economy are being derived. Consistent recommendations for action in the respective fields are then developed, which are made available to port and terminal operators and other stakeholders in the form of a compendium.

The study has a project volume of almost 980,000 euros and a duration of 24 months. The RAIN research project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport under Grant Agreement no. 19H23008.


This article is shared by courtesy of DST

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