TRA 2018 provides many opportunities for WATERBORNE Technology Platform

The Transport Research Arena (TRA) is supported by the European Commission (EC) and several European Technology Platforms (ETPs) – WATERBORNE-TP is one of them. We spoke with Christophe Tytgat, the Secretary General of SEA Europe, acting for the WATERBORNE-TP Secretariat, about the Transport Research Arena 2018 in Vienna.


What does “A Digital Era for Transport” mean to you?

For the maritime sector, a digital era has many meanings. Firstly, it will be a means to enhance the communication between the ship and the shore, the ship and the logistical chain. Secondly, it is a means to reduce the current heavy administrative burdens for shipping through paperwork and replace it with interoperable maritime single windows. Thirdly, and this will be the biggest challenge for the coming years, it will be a way towards the so-called connected ship which will enhance IT connections onboard ships, for crews as well as for passengers, improve connections between ships and – possibly at a later stage – towards realising unmanned ships.

The digital era provides an excellent opportunity for innovation in the maritime sector and should be seized by all parties involved in the maritime industries, including researchers. At the same time, these new opportunities will create numerous challenges to the industry, such as the need to find the appropriate professional skills.


From your point of view, what makes TRA 2018 unique/special?

As before, TRA 2018 will be a unique opportunity for all transport modes to show their innovative equipment and technologies. However, for the maritime sector, TRA 2018 should be the momentum to highlight the various future challenges of the maritime industry in terms of digitalisation, decarbonisation, coping with disruptive technologies, etc.


Who should attend and why?

All people with an interest in innovative technologies and equipment should attend TRA. However, for the maritime industry, TRA should be the platform where “research oriented“ and “business oriented“ people meet and exchange of views on how to cope with the future technological innovations.


What do you expect from TRA 2018?

From the perspective of the maritime sector, TRA 2018 should be the momentum to show what the sector has realised over the past years in terms of innovative technologies and equipment and to indicate the expected future innovative technologies and equipment. At the same time, TRA provides a good opportunity to all modes of transport to meet each other and learn from each other.

TRA 2018 should also be an event where the progressive side of the shipping industry can prove that it has been working very hard on implementing the policy-makers’ environmental and safety expectations.


How should TRA evolve in future? How did TRA evolve since its beginning in 2006?

TRA should try to enhance cross-fertilisation amongst the various modes of transport so as to enable them to learn better from each other than has been the case so far. In other words, TRA should be the platform to stop silo-thinking and break down silos amongst modes of transport and amongst businesspeople and researchers.


About WATERBORNE-Technology Platform

WATERBORNE-TP is one of the five European transport-related technology platforms recognised by the European Commission. It brings together the industry stakeholders with the EU member states, the European Commission services and stakeholders from science and society.

By ensuring a continuous dialogue between stakeholders, the platform is especially in charge of developing a common medium- and long-term R&D Vision and a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) to contribute to the appropriate mobilisation and allocation of the necessary financial resources from private/regional/national/EU sources.

Last but not least, the platform monitors the progress of research activities in Europe in relation to this SRA. It has close relations with projects consortia by improving the impact of their dissemination activities within a large community of diverse relevant stakeholders.

For more information, please consult the Waterborne TP website:

Christophe Tytgat, Secretary General of SEA Europe, Waterborne TP
Christophe Tytgat, Secretary General of SEA Europe, Waterborne TP

Last updated : 03/04/2018