With globalisation at the forefront, import export trade volumes have increased on the European roads. This has led to congested roads, delays, and unnecessary costs for European shippers. In this blog post, I will discuss why short sea shipping is a great alternative to road freight and what the benefits are for European shippers and why this model of transport is not a war on trucks.

Multimodal transport includes some element of road transport, which means we do value what the road element brings to the model. Multimodal solutions are giving to the customer/shipper an option to contribute to their CSR and further reduce their CO2 emissions for certain areas of their business. We value the fact that some parts of the journey will always rely on truck i.e. road elements and will probably never be eradicated 100% during the door to door movement. Our transport model is purely an economic evolution due to rising truck costs and increased regulation controlling drivers’ hours to ensure safety not to mention the global requirements for more sustainable ways of working.

Global Sustainability – European Level
Many European countries are looking for sustainable transport alternatives to road freight whenever it is plausible for their business. It is possible to take substantial 100% truck volumes off of the roads and get rid of road bottlenecks.

Large potential in short sea shipping for European trade
The concept of moving goods by sea along a coast, without crossing an ocean has been around for centuries. More recently there has been a shift in short sea shipping from RoRo vessels to container ships and we can now see a clear trend where container ships are increasing their share on the European market. Moving towards short sea shipping by using container ships goes hand in hand with the global sustainability trend.

Short sea shipping provides many benefits for European shippers
Many European shippers are positive to the short sea shipping alternative, not only because it helps minimise the volumes of goods traffic on the roads but also because of the many benefits it provides. One important aspect to mention is that short sea shipping is not a matter of dismantling road freight but finding smart transport alternatives. Fixed departures and arrivals also ensure on a local level that hauliers can pre plan their journeys for pick ups and deliveries.

Short sea shipping – when speed is not a factor but cost is
Road freight is the only mode of transport that can reach into the most rural areas not served by any other transportation and deliver the goods right at the doorstep. It is a highly flexible mode of transport and perfect solution for shorter distances. However, speed is not always a factor and many times shippers are looking for an alternative that is more cost-efficient than road freight alone. Even though shipping by the sea is a slower method for your goods to reach its final destination it is considerably cheaper than using the road.

Multimodal short sea shipping – reducing your carbon footprint
Shipping containers by sea over shorter distances is way more efficient from an environmental perspective compared to road freight. When it comes to reducing the ecological footprint, sea freight almost always wins the battle against road as CO2 emissions are much lower. With the right solutions, short sea shipping can contribute tremendously in reducing the carbon footprint of European transportation. A swap from 100% road transportation to multimodal using our model (road, rail, shortsea and barge) can reduce up to 65% of CO2 emissions per unit moved. Calculate and see how much greener you can be with Containerships short sea shipping by using our Eco Calculator, click here 

One of our voyages takes about 300 trucks off the roads. That’s having all loads taken at once on a vessel vs. 300 trucks leaving one point to be delivered at another. One gallon of fuel will carry a tonne of cargo 60 miles over the road and 500 miles at sea. Short sea shipping is the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation reducing not only cargo CO2 footprint but at the same time limiting road traffic noise and congestion.

LNG significantly reduces the environmental impacts of transportation operations. Containerships is the first European operator to use LNG as the main fuel source throughout the end-to-end service including sea and land transportation. With LNG and Containerships, our customers can create a notable reduction to their CO2 footprint and reduce their contribution to global warming effectively.

Why shippers should consider alternative methods of transportation in their supply chain?
To sum it up, multimodal short sea shipping is a great alternative to road freight if your shipments are not specifically time-critical and you want a solution that is both cost-efficient and eco-friendly. If you have the time to plan your logistics, you will definitely benefit from short sea shipping as a well-planned logistics flow provides a more balanced overall supply chain.

Would you replace half your trailers with containers?
For one of our customers, who struggled with the problem of never knowing at what time their trailers would arrive at the final destination or if their drivers would even be available at peak times during the holiday season. We replaced some of their trailers with containers and on-board our vessel with scheduled departures and arrivals. This solution provided a more planned and reliable logistics flow as well as a more cost-efficient and sustainable transport solution. Would it be a time to try a different solution?

Multimodal Short sea shipping and the future
We need to find smart and sustainable transport alternatives. By moving selective parts of goods volume from the roads to the seas and ship the goods over shorter distances, the problems with congested roads, delays, and unnecessary costs can be resolved, while at the same contributing to a greener planet.

Why consider the switch to multimodal?

  • A major benefit is the reduction in CO2 through modal shift to short sea
  • Frequency of daily services throughout Short Sea Multimodal Supply Chain – it’s a guarenteed schedule service, like trucks but greener and more cost effective
  • Reliability and service standard
  • Cost competitive – Use of 45’ pallet-wide high cubes matches loading capacity of trailers so there is no loss of cargo intake
  • Deliveries on demand and within 24 hours maximum from arrival at POD
  • Door-to-door simple lump-sum pricing
  • Fixed prices without peak-season surcharges
  • Secure door-to-door transport in dedicated control under one manager

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