DKK 13 million invested in making Danish shipping greener

Wednesday 16 Dec 20


Dario Pacino
Associate Professor
DTU Management
+45 45 25 15 12

Danish shipping companies can save many thousands of tonnes of CO2 and hundreds of millions of kroner annually with an innovative digital solution for loading ships, which DTU Management is helping to develop.  

When cargo has to be moved from land to water in a Danish port today, it’s a carefully coordinated process. So-called terminal tractors rush in and out of ships, loading or unloading their trailers and semi-trailers, closely directed by the dockworkers.

And even the slightest misjudgment or moment of inattention can delay the whole process.

In fact, studies on unloading and loading in the logistics company DFDS show that the company can save a lot of time in the port if the process is digitalized. This would mean a significant reduction in the ships’ fuel consumption and thus savings in both CO2 emissions and on the bottom line.

Therefore, Innovation Fund Denmark is now investing DKK 13 million in the ROROGreen project, in which researchers from DTU, Roskilde University Centre and the University of Southern Denmark, in cooperation with DFDS, will develop new services for optimizing loading and unloading operations.

“We hope to create a solution for the industry where the green transition goes hand in hand with financial savings,” says Dario Pacino, who researches optimization at DTU Management.

A lab the size of a cargo ship
The researchers’ method for improving roll-on/roll-off shipping, as the loading of rolling cargo on ships is called, is to digitalize the process.

As the main partner, DFDS will make its ships and terminals available so the researchers can use them as huge and hyperrealistic laboratories.

Other partners include Ange Analytics, Lorenz Technology, Kockumation and Talch, which contribute knowledge and equipment within IT infrastructure, drones, robots, system implementation, and camera technology.

The researchers will use drones, mobile robots, and sensors to systematically collect data from the loading of the ships.

With the help of AI and optimization techniques, they will then use the collected data to develop new automated and digital solutions to speed up the loading and unloading of ships.

Project benefitting both climate and economy  
This would allow a company such as DFDS to reduce their annual CO2 emissions by up to 80,000 tonnes, because faster loading means the ships don’t have to use unnecessary fuel to rush on to the next port.

With a reduced environmental impact and more efficient loading, the shipping industry will become more competitive, which is likely to shift part of the Danish freight transport from lorries to the more eco-friendly ships.

The researchers therefore expect the project to benefit both the climate and the economic growth of the shipping industry, along with creating jobs at Danish suppliers to the industry.

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