A new high-speed cargo catamaran could significantly reduce the number of lorry journeys on European roads thanks to a grant of almost one million euros from the EU’s Framework Programme.
PACSCAT (Partial Air Cushion Supported Catamaran) is a 30 month project to evaluate the possibility of using high-speed river transport to help deal with the rapid growth in freight movement throughout Europe. The capacity of each catamaran will be around 2,000 tonnes - the equivalent of 45 truck loads – and it will be able to travel at almost 25 miles (37km) an hour, making it a much more realistic alternative to road transport than anything else currently available.
“With an already congested land-based transport infrastructure throughout most European countries the expansion of waterborne transport is essential”, says project co-ordinator Jonathan Williams. “The objective of PACSCAT is to develop and evaluate the catamaran to allow operation on inland waterways without the draught restrictions of conventional vessels. The vessel draught can be adjusted from 2.5 metres to as low as 1.5 metres to cope with shallow water and air draught can be similarly altered to overcome bridge height limitations.
Dave Sanders | alfa
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