Socioeconomic cost-benefit analysis for autonomous shipping

Published on: 8 December 2022 | Last edited on: 14 April 2023

At the beginning of 2022, EGEN started working on the assessment of the socioeconomic costs and benefits for autonomous shipping. This ongoing assessment is carried out as part of the EU-funded AUTOSHIP project, which is coordinated by CiaoTech, another PNO Group company.

Assessing the impact of innovative and sustainable projects

The AUTOSHIP project aims at speeding up the transition towards a next generation of autonomous ships in the European Union. Funding was provided by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Various innovations have been and will be tested in two demonstrations in Belgium (inland waterways) and Norway (short-sea shipping). In order to speed up this transition, a clear understanding of its impact is very important. EGEN, with its own Impact Assessment Centre, has extensive experience with assessing the impact of innovative and sustainable projects in the field of mobility, energy and environment.

Financial feasibility and societal effects

The methodology used for this cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is based on the DG REGIO methodology and focuses on the financial as well as the economic impact of the project and the transition to autonomous shipping in general. The financial analysis is about the financial feasibility of this project, while the economic analysis provides insight into the societal effects as a result of autonomous shipping. Main effects expected as a result of autonomous shipping are: decreasing operational costs and costs related to safety and accidents (no crew needed), increased investment costs (due to required additional technical equipment), increased operational time, and a reduction in fuel costs due to a more efficient operation.

Accelerating the transition towards autonomous shipping

AUTOSHIP’s use cases are the first ones out of a series of more autonomous vessels to be delivered shortly after the project ends and will be used to demonstrate a complete set of key-enabling technologies for autonomous operations. By monetising and providing insight into both the financial and economic effects of autonomous shipping, EGEN enables the project consortium to accelerate this transition. Full results of the CBA are expected by the end of 2022 and will be made publicly available through the AUTOSHIP project website.

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