The Agro Highway consortium aims to: provide a flexible, maritime transport solution for perishable agro food liquids; reduce costs for transport over middle to long distances; increase the maximum transport distance and capacity. This is especially important for milk, the most important EU agro product. Increase of the maximum transport distance, will allow producers to reach new markets upon release of the milk quota; optimize the supply chains, by reducing the necessity of pre- and post-processing and eliminating packaging waste while improving product quality and reducing their environmental impact. Together, this will result in a higher market value of the transported goods and completely new market opportunities for the EU transport and agricultural sector.
The project will: offer growth opportunities and new business opportunities for both SMEs directly involved in the project and connected third parties (mostly SMEs) that provide materials and services, increasing their profitability; in 2026 over 100 mln/year of turnover will be created for the participants and their subcontractors; accelerate market uptake and investments by the direct involvement of end users, financers and investors, lining up all the key players necessary for upscaling and commercializing the Agro Highway; create new and improved business opportunities and open up new markets for the transport and agro sector, improving the EU s market position and potential; result in over 1.400 new jobs by 2026 with the participants and their subcontractors.
The Agro Highway is an alternative to road transport, Road transport of perishable liquids is limited in distance and volume. Road transport often requires pre-processing of agro food liquids to enable transport by road tanks, bins or drums. Road transport is relatively expensive, creates packaging waste and has a considerable environmental impact. In addition, concentrating or powdering further increases the costs and lowers product quality.
The Agro Highway is spearheaded by the ’Liquid Ferry’, a sea-river ship with a cargo system that enables transport of perishable liquids by an integrated cargo system consisting of aseptic and temperature controlled bulk tanks, an on board cleaning and sterilization system, a direct loading and discharge system and a quality monitoring system. This technology does not rely on port infrastructure (like terminals). All together, these features will increase cargo and transport route flexibility and lower initial investments substantially. The Agro Highway will use an 86 m sea-river ship to demonstrate and validate the ‘Liquid Ferry’ technology. This type of ship can easily navigate coastal waters or go up in to class IV and V inland waterways for direct (un)loading of the liquid product to road truck to cover the last miles. The Agro Highway aims to:
Provide a flexible and generic maritime transport solution for all major European perishable agro food liquids;
Increase the transport distance (500 to 10.000 km) and capacity (25 to 2.000 tons) for near fresh products. This is especially important for milk, the most important EU agro product. Increase of the maximum transport distance, will allow producers to reach new markets upon release of the EU milk quota;
Reduce costs for transport (20 - 50 %) over middle (500 - 3.000 km) to long (5.000-10.000 km) distances;optimize the supply chains from supplier to food industry by:
o reducing the necessity of pre- and post-processing (10 to 20 % of the cost price);
o eliminating packaging and waste (10-30 % of the cost price);
o maintaining / improving product quality (increase in value up to 30 %);
o reducing the environmental impact of agriculture and transport