Waterways for smart transport

Challenges & successes



4 October 2016, Belgium


Economic Seminar

Organized by COVENTURIS and CreaDelta

A one-day working seminar on inland waterways transport took place

with a focus on operation, finance and innovation


The aim was to facilitate business relations in the inland waterways transport sector and to create awareness on the related opportunities considering its growth across Europe and the competitive advantages it can offer compared to other means of transport.

Speakers and attendees represented diversity amongst the whole value chain including SMEs, start-ups, large companies, clusters, research groups, investment firms, pilots, operators, city distributors, etc.
Actionable insights along the day

It started with interactive presentations providing key lessons learned, success stories, addressing challenges and failures and inspiring with innovation and trends.

Leading up to afternoon co-creation workshops where participants actively collaborated in subgroups on the topics of their choice to generate ideas, solve problems, improve working relationships or share feedbacks. Animated with professionals, the interactive workshops stimulated the development of business opportunities and creativity through collaborative working.

Several questions have been addressed such as:

  • Why inland waterways transport can also be profitable for SMEs?
  • What are the operational constraints?
  • What can be changed to ease the access to finance?
  • How a city can benefit from waterways to improve urban transport?
  • Is there room for tech startups in such environment?
  • Why is it a growing transport mode across Europe?
  • Why open data could benefit all stakeholders?
  • How legislation can support the uptake?
  • Should education and training be stimulated?

Speakers and moderators


André Hage

General Manager



Antoon Van Coillie


Blue Line Logistics


Bernard Piette

General Manager

Logistics in Wallonia


Cathy Macharis


MOBI Research Centre


Christa Sys

Holder of the BNP Paribas Fortis chair on transport, logistics and ports at University of Antwerp


Erik De Herdt




Emmanuel Maes

General Manager

Group De Cloedt


Frans D’Haese


en Zeekanaal


Hervé Verloes

Virtual Reality Producer



Nick Celis

General Manager

André Celis



Managing Director



Yves Houard

Maritime Pilot

Maritime &
Transport Expert


van den Bosch


European Federation of Inland Ports


Karin De Schepper


Inland Navigation


8:30 – 9:00 Welcome coffee and registration
9:00 – 10:30 Morning session 1

  • New opportunities for SMEs: The case of André Celis and AB Inbev
  • Mr. Nick Celis, André Celis

  • Waterways in Belgium : an underrated asset
  • Mr. Bernard Piette, Logistics in Wallonia

  • Key elements of the financing of the inland waterways transport sector
  • Dr. Christa Sys, Holder of the BNP Paribas Fortis chair on transport, logistics and ports at University of Antwerp

  • Dynamic waterways management fostering prosperity and sustainability
  • Mr. Frans D’Haese, Waterwegen & Zeekanaal

  • Successful expansion across Europe using inland waterways transport
  • Mr. Emmanuel Maes, Group De Cloedt

  • A pilot’s perspective on the constraints and complementarities
  • Cdt. Yves Houard

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 – 12:30 Morning session 2

  • How smart technology can help the transportation sector to comply with regulations
  • Mr. Erik De Herdt, Lex.be

  • Software solution for the carriage of dangerous goods
  • Mr. André Hage, DN&T

  • A logistical platform for palletized goods using inland waterways
  • Mr. Antoon Van Coillie, Blue Line Logistics

  • The four waves in the inland waterways sector: models and approaches to support the transition
  • Prof. Cathy Macharis, MOBI Research Centre

  • Real-time ship location for transport management
  • Mr. Stephane Helsmoortel, Canaleye

  • Virtual reality for immersive training environment and navigation e-learning
  • Mr. Hervé Verloes, Poolpio

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 16:30 Afternoon session

Each participant will come back with added-value elements aligned with its own centre of interest.

You will be able to address problems in an open environment, challenge ideas and co-create track of solutions that will be exploitable immediately.

Three parallel workshops are foreseen on the following thematics:

  • Operation

For organizations that consider using this transport mode but question the feasibility and would like to know how to start and for those willing to develop further their operations.

  • Finance

For investors and banks interested by this growing sector to diversify their portfolio or for companies looking after solutions to bridge the financial gap.

  • Innovation

For actors interested by ICT, operational, technological or cross-sectoral innovations. To discuss new business models and ‘barriers to adoption’.

16:30 – 18:00 B2B Meetings and Networking


Who should attend?

SMEs, Large companies, City logistics companies, Maritime and inland operators, Cargo operators, Shipowners, ICT companies, Banks, Investment firms, BE and EU Authorities.

Presentations and workshops will be in English.

4 October 2016

8:30 to 18:00

Transforma Bxl

Coworking & innovation space

1140 Evere, Belgium

Supporting organizations

Organizing partners

Any questions ? Get in touch

Please email us at info@coventuris.com or use the contact form: