Despite the political objective of decreasing road transport and transfer cargo to rail and sea, short sea shipping is struggling. Historically, building larger vessels has been the main pathway for reducing fuel consumption and cost, however while ships in deep-sea trades competes against similar ships and partly other ship types, their major competitor in short sea trades are the trucks. The benefit of trucks is that they transports small batch sizes, i.e. 20 – 25 tons from door to door, and that the frequency can be anything from minutes to days. In contrast typical frequencies for scheduled shipping lines are once a day, or two or three times a week, and while trucks are standardized and built in huge numbers, short sea vessels are less standardized and typically built in short series. The results of this study indicates that significant fuel and cost savings can be achieved by designing and building slender, simplified and standardized short sea ships and that these savings might be of a similar magnitude as the traditional Economies of Scale benefits which are achievable by doubling the vessel size. Significant cost reductions without increasing vessel sizes will enable shipping lines to keep the sailing frequencies and hence increase their market share versus road transport.

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