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Wartsila has announced its plans to develop an autonomous intra-port, inter-terminal container barge, which would reduce container transportation bottlenecks, for the Port of Rotterdam.

The sub-project is part of a research project, dubbed sMArt Green Ports as Integrated Efficient multimodal hubs (MAGPIE).

The entities involved in MAGPIE include the port authorities of Rotterdam, DeltaPort, Haropa and Sines, as well as ten research institutions and more than 30 firms in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark and Portugal.

This month, the alliance obtained approximately $30.48m (€25m) in European Union funding for the development of sustainable and smart port logistic projects.

Wartsila will receive the largest portion of the grant for the sub-project.

Furthermore, the partners have started working on digitalisation and automation projects involving energy transition.

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Wartsila stated that the emission-free barge will be loaded with its solutions, including the SmartMove Suite.

This solution combines sensor tech with navigation systems for secure and automated movement of the vessel.

The barge will feature electric propulsion, which will operate through an electric drive train and an interchangeable battery container solution, which will be charged by renewable power.

Wartsila ecosystem innovation general manager Teus Van Beek said: “To complement the e-navigation setup, we are part of a consortium that has developed a concept based on the use of replaceable battery containers, known as ZESPacks (Zero-Emission Services).

“A network of open access charging points will be set up for exchanging battery containers for fully charged replacements, thereby keeping waiting time to a minimum. The first of these battery containers will be installed in the summer.”

Earlier this month, Wartsila secured an order to deliver its cargo handling and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fuel supply systems for two new very large gas carrier (VLGC) vessels.