Smart Shipping

The shipbuilding and shipping sectors are innovating rapidly. Factors driving this are the improvement of sensors, connectivity and data aggregation. These trends lead to increasing automation and digitisation, not least in shipping.

The trend towards smart shipping includes all innovations with regard to accommodating complex automated sailing at sea and on inland waterways, both for those on deck and the vessels on the water. As a result, shipping can operate more cost-effectively and safely. These developments are in response to a decreasing and ageing workforce of sailing personnel.

Smart Shipping Programme

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management sees a lot of potential in this development in relation to policy objectives and therefore wants to facilitate the developments. To this end, the Smart Shipping (SMASH) programme was set up in 2017 and aims to facilitate innovations in the field of smart shipping. The programme contributes to the competitiveness, safety and sustainability of the sector through:

  • R&D: offers a clear direction for innovation
  • legal: provides legislation and regulations within current legal frameworks and, where necessary, amends legislation and regulations so that innovations can be structurally implemented after successful experimentation
  • infrastructure: prepares the physical environment
  • government: ready to fulfil the role of waterway manager, enforcer, inspector and licensing authority

The ambition is to make extensive automated shipping possible. This offers the opportunity of gaining experience that can be used in the development of a framework within which smart shipping can also be used structurally, in both Dutch and international waters in the longer term. In addition to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch Coast Guard and the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate are part of the Smart Shipping programme.

Experimentation on the water

With the Policy Guidelines for Experiments, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management provides access to all waters administered by the state for experiments with smart shipping. These experiments will lead to new insights that can be considered when new policy and legislation are formulated.

Visit the website SMASH for more information about smart shipping.

More information