In choosing the most cost-effective option to distribute goods, supply chain managers all over the world have four transport options to choose from: ocean-going vessel, plane, train, or truck. But for European distribution there is also another efficient option available, shortsea shipping.
Most SSS vessels carry goods within the European Union’s (EU) internal market, in other words “Union goods” that have been manufactured in the EU or are in free circulation within the Union. These goods can be transferred within the EU without any Customs formalities.
Most of these vessels are built to carry containers, and their routes are connected to global deep sea trading links. As a result, containers arriving from Asia or the United States at one of the main European container ports might be loaded onto SSS vessels to be delivered to close by destinations and smaller ports.
Read this article from the WCO: How the Dutch ports readied themselves for Brexit