AVATAR - Multimodal Urban Days Ghent 16/11/2021

22 November 2021 - Published by Tom Pauwels
An AVATAR colloquium was organized about the possibilities to integrate regional and local transport of construction materials.

One of the ambitions of the AVATAR project is to define and assess business cases for city freight distribution in the city of Ghent, using highly autonomous vessels. 

Therefore, an AVATAR colloquium was organized about the possibilities to integrate regional and local transport of construction materials (16/11/2021, havenhuis Gent). Speakers were invited from the government (City of Ghent, North Sea Port), European projects (AVATAR and ST4W), a local project (Via Palletto!) and private stakeholders (construction dealers, real estate companies). Not only technical issues were discussed, but also economic and energy issues. In total, 40 participants joined the colloquium.

There is a strong belief in Ghent by policy makers that using waterways for city freight distribution for construction materials can be successful (see here), but there are still some points of attention. Reference is made to the need for appropriate loading and unloading equipment, but also the need for a reliable water level in the city.

Carl Verhamme (Via Palletto!) presented the Via Palletto project, with focus on a regional multi-stop river shuttle and neutral integrator, with fixed routes, for pallets of building materials (see here). In this concept, a large barge arrives at a Ghent distribution center and some of the cargo is distributed into the city using a small vessel. In the long term, the last-mile could be carried out with AVATAR highly autonomous vessels.

Urban Waterway Logistics (consortium of construction dealers) will play an important role in carrying out pilot cases for the Ghent region, in close alignment with the AVATAR project.

Thank you Peter Geirnaert for the excellent organisation of the colloquium!

During the colloquium some of the participants enjoyed a boat trip with the urban vessel developped in #IWTS2.0.  This vessel  is the full electric urban vessel developed by TESCO and De Groote-Houtboerke NV in the #IWTS2.0 project and is being used as a research vessel in the AVATAR project. During this trip, it was illustrated that in Ghent special attention is needed for passing bridges!