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“Short Sea Shipping is one of the most important subsectors of maritime transport in the EU. Based on Eurostat’s data, at the European level, nearly 75% of the Union’s external trade and 37% of the internal is conducted by sea, while Short Sea Shipping represents almost 60% of the total maritime transport of
goods in EU ports.

SSS is considered crucial for the establishment of efficient
multimodal logistics chains, and a sustainable alternative to road

Carrying 40% of intra-European transport, Short Sea Shipping is a
vital economic activity for the Community.

Union’s interest in the systematic shift of cargo transport from road
to sea, as an activity that would decongest European roads, reduce
accidents and provide more environmentally friendly transport services
is rooted back at the 90’s.

Early in 2000, the Commission set out 14 action program to strengthen
the effectiveness of SSS and to address the conditions that hinder
further the development of SSS. In this context the Commission
proposed the creation of Shortsea Shipping Promotion Centers in order
to enhance the integration of the SSS activity in the transport chain.

Currently, 13 Promotion Centers operate under the European Network of
Short Sea Shipping (ESN). ESN is a co-operational scheme aiming at
promoting the SSS activity in Pan-European level.”

Carrying of intra-European transport,
Promotion Centers operate under the European Network
Million tons transported by Short Sea Shipping

Advantages of shortsea shipping

Definition shortsea as alternative to road transport :

Shortsea shipping is the intermodal

  • Transport of Intra-European cargo on a door-to-door basis, usually in containers trailers. A large part of the transport traject is done by sea.
  • Combination of sea- and land transport. Shortsea shipping in containers can be multimodal; by road, by rail and by inland barge.

Type of containers:

In general there are 4 sizes of containers offered for shortsea transport: 20 ft, 30 ft, 40 ft and 45 ft. Withtin these types a variety of types are offered, like standard, reefer, open top, flats, etc.

For a complete review and the internal measurements per container, please download the factsheet on container sizes here .