Want to be informed about trends, new business models and technologies for the inland waterway transport ?

About the economic seminar


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. 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. Click here to read more


Workshops’ takeaways


Which actions are required to convince new users to adopt inland waterway transport and to increase the filling rate of barges?

  • Software solution for calculation of the total logistics cost from a shipper perspective.
  • More consolidation and distribution centres enabling collaboration between shippers.
  • Shippers’ booking platform through the Internet.
  • Increased numbers of small ships (max. 50 tons) for inner city distribution.
  • Innovation in loading/unloading and more ships with own cranes.
  • Media campaign on the advantages of inland waterway transport (reliable, congestion-free, cost-effective, less CO2).


What (technological) progresses can help the sector in the near term?

  • Standardized and open data structure to improve the designs and operations of the infrastructures and barges.
  • Open and real-time data to support the digitalisation of the sector.
  • Design of barges using lightweight materials and new components.
  • Further development of electric and CNG engines.
  • Design & engineering adaptive to future needs.
  • Uniform handling equipment to accomodate different type of containers.


How to facilitate the use of inland waterway transport for city distribution?

  • Multi-actors involvment, coordination and cooperation: City authorities, citizens, local businesses and shops, non-profit organisations, urban planners, architects and real estate developers, shippers, transport companies, ports and logistics centres.
  • Integrated data platform available to all stakeholders.
  • Strong coordination with last-mile operators to ensure door-to-door services.
  • Use of inner city hubs and micro terminals.
  • Use of cellular barges, roboats and small size catamarans.
  • Mixed-use development (residential, leisure, commercial, office, industrial) equiped with transhipment facilities.
  • Technological innovation to overcome the lack of access points.
  • More facilitating regulations and governmental incentives.
  • Full internalisation of the external costs of transport modes.