1      Introduction

RIS COMEX is a multi-beneficiary project among 13 European countries focusing on the realisation of Corridor River Information Services until the end of 2021. Details about the project are provided on www.riscomex.eu.

This document provides a summary of the work that was executed within RIS COMEX since the start of the project (February 2016) until October 2020 including the intermediate results.

2      Project starting phase and project management (2016-2017)

Since the submission of the project proposal into the CEF call mid February 2016, the Coordination Team (viadonau as Project Coordinator and Rijkswaterstaat as lead of the Project Management Team) as well as the Project management Team were active in planning and coordinating the project start phase:

  • The following RIS COMEX project Corridors were defined:
    • Danube Corridor: DE-AT-SK-HU-HR-RS-RO-BG
    • Rhine Corridor: NL-DE-FR
    • Amsterdam-Antwerp-Liege Corridor: NL-BE
    • Amsterdam-Antwerp-Brussels Corridor: NL-BE
    • Dunquerke-Scheld Corridor: FR-BE
    • Elbe Corridor: DE-CZ
    • Mosel Corridor: DE-LUX-FR
  • A Corridor Coordinator was nominated for each RIS COMEX Corridor who is responsible for coordinating the actions within the respective Corridor.
  • The Project Management Team was established and consists of the Coordination Team, the Corridor Coordinators and the Activity Leaders.
  • The finalisation of the Grant Agreements was supported and the signature process was executed under the coordination of the Project Coordinator viadonau.
  • The RIS COMEX Master Plan was elaborated, discussed and finalised by the Project Management Team under the coordination of the SuAc 4.1 Lead Rijkswaterstaat providing the list and interpretation of Corridor Services to be investigated and defined within Activity 2 followed by their implementation in Activity 3 (if feasible).
  • The detailed RIS COMEX Work Programme and Dissemination Plan were elaborated and finalised under the coordination of the Project Coordinator viadonau.
  • The RIS COMEX project website (riscomex.eu) was specified, contracted and put online by Project Coordinator viadonau.
  • The detailed organisational structure, SCOM composition, decision finding procedures and other relevant aspects related to joint execution of the RIS COMEX project by the consortium were agreed and defined within the RIS COMEX Consortium Agreement under the coordination of the Project Coordinator viadonau.
  • Furthermore, SuAc 2.1 (CoRISMa Assessment) was executed by identifying and providing all relevant results of the predecessor project CoRISMa and by informing all RIS COMEX partners about the vision, executed tasks and results of that project to bring everyone on the same knowledge level.
  • A prolongation of the RIS COMEX project until the end of 2021 was discussed and approved at the SCOM meeting in autumn 2019 which was necessary in order to enable the project consortium to reach all goals in expected quality. The request for prolongation of the eligibility period was approved by INEA in August 2020 by means of an amendment of the Grant Agreements, after submission of a request for prolongation that was approved by all partners. The project prolongation gives the partners more time for the project implementation, but no additional funding by INEA will be provided. However, budget shifts between the partners are possible, within the same contract only.

3      Service Definition and architecture phase (2017-2018)

3.1    Service Definitions

Based on the RIS COMEX Master Plan, the identified Corridor Services were investigated, discussed and defined. For that purpose the following Core Teams were established for an efficient elaboration of the Service Definitions:

  • SuAc 2.2 Core Team for the investigation, discussion and definition of the Level 1 Corridor Services providing Fairway Information relevant for Route Planning
  • SuAc 2.3 Core Team for the investigation, discussion and definition of the Level 2 Corridor Services providing Traffic Information relevant for Voyage Planning and Traffic management
  • SuAc 2.4 Core Team for the investigation, discussion and definition of the Level 3 Corridor Services providing relevant information for logistics

In a series of Core Team workshops, as well as between these workshops, the Core Team Members under the guidance and coordination of the related SuAc Leaders discussed and further elaborated the Service Definitions.

Three main feedback cycles have been executed whereas the related latest versions of all Service Definitions were provided to all Activity 2 partners and all National Coordinators to check and verify whether the defined Corridor Services fulfil the needs, requirements and expectations of each country and their users:

  • Sep-Oct 2017 on draft versions
  • Dec-Feb 2018 on draft final versions
  • Mar-Apr 2018 on final versions

All Service Definitions were approved by the SCOM:

  • Level 1 Corridor Service Definitions: June 2018
  • Level 2a Corridor Service Definitions: June 2018
  • Level 2b Corridor Service Definitions: October 2018
  • Level 3 Corridor Service Definitions: June 2018
  • Support Services (background services supporting the Corridor Services):
  • 1 User Management Support Service: March 2019
  • 2 Vessel Position Support Service: June 2018
  • 3 Reference Data Support Service: March 2019
  • 4 ETA Support Service: March 2019 (open issue related to integration of SuSe.8)
  • 5 Electronic Reporting Support Service: June 2018

3.2    Architecture (System Concept)

Within SuAc 2.5 the architecture, respectively the system concept, is elaborated under the coordination of the German Waterway Directorate. For that purpose also a Core Team was established that met regularly to discuss and elaborate possible architecture types/options based on which the SCOM members made an indicative choice on the preferred architecture at the 2nd SCOM meeting in December 2017 in Rotterdam.

Based on the defined Corridor- and Support Services as well as based on the intended preferred system architecture choices by the SCOM, the SuAc 2.5 Core Team further discussed and elaborated on the system architecture.

Furthermore, a detailed gap analysis was prepared and executed where each partner had to indicate which services are intended to be realised and what gaps have to be considered on legal (data protection), organisational or data (availability, quality) level.

By the end of May 2018 the SuAc 2.5 Core Team agreed on a central system architecture reusing the Flemish VisuRIS system which was on technical and functional level identified as suitable system to realise the defined Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Corridor Services. This solution was proposed to the entire project consortium and the SCOM Members approved this during the 4th SCOM Meeting by the end of June 2018 in Ruse. The SCOM gave order to the partners to identify a feasible way of contracting VisuRIS to realise the defined Corridor Services.

After a detailed investigation by the owner of VisuRIS, De Vlamse Waterweg, in cooperation with Activity 2 partners, it was finally concluded that this is a feasible approach. Therefore, the related architecture was elaborated, discussed and finalised focusing on the central “VisuRIS COMEX” system as well on additional solutions for services not to be covered by “VisuRIS COMEX”.

The final architecture concept was approved by the SCOM in October 2018 and therefore formed, together with the approved service definitions, the basis for the specification and implementation phase within Activity 3.

3.1    Implementation Plan

Based on the RIS COMEX Master Plan and considering the service definitions as well as the approved architecture concept, the so-called RIS COMEX Implementation plan was elaborated listing all defined Corridor Services and Support Services and in what Countries / Corridors these will be realised within Activity 3.

The draft final version of the Implementation Plan was discussed during the 4th SCOM meeting in June 2018, afterwards finalised and approved by the SCOM during the 5th SCOM meeting in October 2018 in Vienna.

4     Implementation phase (2019-ongoing)

The following work was carried out during the implementation phase:

  • SuAc 3.1: A workplan has been concluded in March 2019 and was finalised in May 2019.
    VisuRIS COMEX and the required interfaces for the partners to interconnect to VisuRIS COMEX was set up in 2019. By September 2020, a new demo environment (https://demo2.visuris.eu/) including new services and functionalities has been introduced providing better performance reflecting the needs concerning system load.
    A first draft of an overall planning is drawn up by September 2020, in order to monitor the project progress and to stay on track. Furthermore, DVW will provide a detailed planning of all VISURIS developments and releases.
  • SuAc 3.2: The VisuRIS Reference Network Model has been finalised by the end of 2019 and the Level 1 Service Specifications by October 2020. Most partners are successfully providing their national reference data towards VisuRIS COMEX.
  • SuAc 3.3: AIS interconnection has been initiated and currently (status: November 2020) all partners besides DE and LU are successfully interconnected to VisuRIS COMEX and are providing national AIS data towards VisuRIS COMEX. DE and LU are working on the framework for establish the interconnection and data delivery.
    The elaboration of the system specifications, monitoring concept, subscriptions and statistics related to the Level 2 Traffic related Corridor Services are still ongoing.
  • SuAc 3.4: The elaboration of the system specifications, monitoring concept, subscriptions and statistics related to the Level 3 Corridor Services customised for logistics purposes are still ongoing.
    In March 2019,  the partners of the Danube Corridor (except DE) together with CZ agreed to realise a new ERI system that covers all national reporting requirements. By the end of October 2019, a joint procurement was established and the best bidder (RGO Communications Ltd.) has been contracted in mid-August 2020. The implementation of the Central and Eastern European Reporting Information System – so-called  “CEERIS” – started on September 1st, 2020 with a kick-off meeting. Implementation is planned until the end of 2021 including transfer into sustainable operation.
    In October 2020, viadonau as contracting authority of CEERIS and DVW as owner of VisuRIS COMEX as well as the related system suppliers started the coordination of the necessary tasks to enable and realise the required interconnection of both systems VisuRIS COMEX and CEERIS.
    Starting in September 2020, an expert group consisting of members of the CEERIS Partners, the Swing Initiative Partners and the ERI TWG coordinates the amendments of the ERI messages in order to ensure a proper and seamless usage within the reporting systems and services.
  • SuAc 3.5: In September 2020, a time schedule for the evaluation of the services was drawn up. Due to delays in the provision of data and consequently the service implementation, the evaluation had to be postponed and will be executed within 2021.

4      Parallel activities (2017-ongoing)

Parallel to the activities described in the previous chapter, the following work was executed:

  • SuAc 4.1: RIS COMEX Master Plan (see chapter 2) and RIS COMEX Implementation Plan (see chapter 3.1) were elaborated and approved.
  • SuAc 4.2: Starting in autumn 2018, the legal requirements were investigated and a clear structure of the legal architecture was agreed within the SuAc 4.2 core team supported by external data protection experts. The legal architecture was presented to the SCOM during the 6th SCOM meeting in March 2019 in Brussels. The further elaboration of the related contracts/agreements is ongoing with continuous coordination among all project partners.
  • Specifically, a Non-Disclosure Agreement NDA has been elaborated in 2019 as an intermediate solution for the provision of AIS data from national infrastructure towards VisuRIS COMEX until the Core Arrangement 1 is in force.
  • The Core Arrangement 1 – that regulates data provision towards Logistics Users – is in its final review phase and is expected to be finalised by the end of 2020.
  • The Core Arrangement 2 – that regulates data provision towards National Authorities – is under elaboration.
  • The Core Arrangement 3 – that regulates additional specific data provision requirements, that cannot be covered by Core Arrangement 1 and/or 2 due to different scope and purpose – is under preparation.
  • Since September 2020 the usage of VisuRIS COMEX by non-COMEX partners has been discussed and will be clarified by the SCOM.
  • SuAc 4.3: The elaboration of a detailed Cooperation Agreement among DVW as owner of VisuRIS and the other project partners was started by beginning of 2019 and is subject to final revision (status: November 2020). The partners were asked to give their urgent approval to the proposed Agreement in order to start the signing process as soon as possible, as the absence of the Agreement is already causing delays in important follow-up actions.
    A joint procurement of the VisuRIS COMEX maintenance and support is being under elaboration since beginning of 2020. Call for Candidates will start as soon as the Cooperation Agreement has been signed by all partners and the procurement documents, including the necessary Specific Joint Procurement Agreement, are finalised and approved.
    Furthermore, the hosting requirements were discussed and approved in September 2020. As important next step, the consortium has to agree on a solution for hosting by either contracting one partner out of the consortium to host VisuRIS COMEX within its infrastructure or by jointly contracting an external hosting provider.
  • SuAc 4.4: A detailed concept for the definition of the quality criteria for the individual Corridor Services and the related data was drafted and has to be further elaborated and finalised as a basis for the realisation, test and evaluation within Activity 3.
  • SuAc 4.5: Vision on RIS and Corridor Management beyond RIS COMEX: Not started yet.
  • SuAc 5.1: A detailed work plan was elaborated and agreed by the SuAc 5.1 partners which was agreed by the PMT by the end of May 2018. A cooperation with leading ECDIS viewer manufacturers is concluded to demonstrate the integration of Aids-to-Navigation into the on-board applications visualising the Electronic Navigational Charts. Furthermore, on national level several partners implemented (partly ongoing) specific measures to provide Aids-to-Navigation to the skippers navigating along their stretches.
  • SuAc 5.2: A detailed national stakeholder consultation was executed by each national project partner under the coordination of the Project Management Team in autumn 2017 with the main aim to get specific answers relevant for the definition of the Corridor Services directly from the potential future users of these services. Furthermore, the Project Management Team established the so-called Industry Reference Group with representatives of the main European Inland Navigation related Branch Organisations. Several workshops were already organised to inform the IRG about the vision, plans and intermediate results of the project and to get their feedback on individual Corridor Services, their specific needs, requirements and expectations as well some input for a potential prioritisation of these services. Stakeholder consultation on national level as well as via the IRG is ongoing throughout the project.
  • SuAc 5.3: This SuAc deals with the definition and provision of necessary Reference Data to enable the defined Corridor Services and with the investigation of a potential support of the Corridor Services towards Statistics. In the course of May 2018, this SuAc was kicked-off by a workshop under the lead of viadonau whereas the detailed planning and specific next steps as well as the differentiation and dependencies to Activity 3 (Implementation of the Corridor Services including implementation of the Reference Data Management Support Service) were discussed and agreed. In cooperation with SuAc 3.2 (Level 1 Services Implementation) the key focus is put on the Nautical Network Data including specific required configuration of fairway- and infrastructure data.
    In February 2020, a group of experts continued to work on the specification of a relational geo database, the so-called RIS Index 3000, offering capabilities to include the characteristics of all the European Waterway Network. Work on the RIS Index 3000 has been paused in 2019 in order to wait for the final specifications of the VisuRIS COMEX Reference Network Model as a baseline, which became available end of 2019.
  • SuAc 5.4: Multimodality: Not started yet
  • SuAc 5.5: RIS Standardisation: Continuous support and contribution to the work of the RIS Expert Groups by means financing related costs (staff costs, travel costs).

5      Outlook on upcoming main tasks on critical path (2019-2020)

In the following the most important next steps within RIS COMEX are highlighted:

  • Elaborate an overall planning for Activity 3 in order to monitor the project progress and to stay on track including a detailed planning of all VISURIS developments and releases.
  • Complete all service specifications and their implementation on VisuRIS COMEX.
  • Push the provision of national AIS data towards VisuRIS COMEX.
  • Complete the development of CEERIS and elaborate an Operation Agreement among the CEERIS Partners
  • Elaborate the connection of VisuRIS COMEX and CEERIS and the assignment of ALSIC for the support for the integration of CEERIS with VisuRIS COMEX
  • Coordination of the amendments of the ERI messages by the expert group consisting of members of the CEERIS Partners, Swing Initiative Partners and the ERI TWG in bi-weekly meetings
  • Finalise the Cooperation Agreement and its Annexes and initiate signing process
  • Finalise and put into force the legal basis (Core Arrangements)
  • Joint procurement of VisuRIS COMEX Maintenance and Support
  • Contracting of hosting of VisuRIS COMEX