Transport policies need to adjust to growing volumes in a sustainable manner
Transport volumes in Europe are expected to grow significantly in the next decades, also in the Baltic Sea region. In some countries, e.g. Germany, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Lithuania, these challenges could be reduced by transporting more goods on inland waterways, i.e. on rivers, canals and lakes. At European level, inland waterway transport plays a prominent role in transport policies. However, it is in political focus mainly in western and southern Europe around the large rivers Rhine and Danube. The transport conditions in these rivers differ from those in inland waterways around the Baltic Sea.
Rivers, lakes & canals can be efficient modes in international transport chains
Around the Baltic Sea, standardized inland vessels like the “Europe” class vessel cannot be used. Navigation restrictions in natural rivers as well as weather conditions are a burden, e.g. ice during winter shortens the season in which waterways are navigable. In addition, transport policies around the Baltic Sea too often focus on road and rail transport. For these reasons, inland waterway transport has only a small share in transport volumes within the Baltic Sea region compared to road and rail. However, in the light of rising increasing transport volumes, rising environmental standards and modern technical solutions, inland waterway transportation holds a potential to become a more profitable business also in the Baltic Sea region.
Business and politics need to be convinced of inland waterways
In order to make use of these opportunities, the mind sets of transport related politicians from the Baltic Sea region and on the European level need to be changed towards a higher appreciation of these opportunities. At the same time, the market needs to become more acquainted with inland waterway transportation, i.e. the logistics and shipping industries servicing the Baltic Sea region need to be convinced that integrating inland waterway and river-sea transport into their logistic concepts will be beneficial for them.
EMMA Extension brings solutions to practice
EMMA Extension implemented solutions to strengthen inland shipping developed in the EMMA project. Commercial shipment services were piloted in Poland and Lithuania. As the preceding project EMMA revealed that digitalisation is crucial to make inland water transport (IWT) competitive, the partners continued to further develop River Information Services and Vessel Traffic Services.
0.00MillionEni + Russia
The EMMA Extension focused on testing the solutions in inland shipping developed by the preceding project EMMA. Seven partners from Germany, Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden worked together to deploy inland water transport (IWT) solutions and improve inland navigation in the Baltic Sea region.
Regional solutions inspire
The regional conditions like for example local infrastructure, weather conditions and priorities led to different innovative approaches and results.
In Poland, the partners installed a bridge clearance application for better planning. The application helps to ensure navigation safety and enables the shippers to load vessels in a more flexible way. The application allows adjusting the vessels´ loading procedures to face the latest waterway conditions and improve vessels´ pass under bridges.
In Finland, where weather conditions can be tough, finding new solutions to improved navigation safety required another approach. The partners installed smart buoys to indicate the fairway and make navigation easier. The buoys provided adjustable light intensity in signal lights which is a crucial precondition for safe navigation in such coastal landscapes with poor visibility due to bad weather conditions.
In Lithuania, the partners implemented a barge pilot by introducing transportation of containers by inland water vessels. Within the area covering river Nemunas and Curonian lagoon from Kaunas to Klaipeda, several pilot sailings by inland waterway vessels took place. The vessels managed to transport 91 containers covering a distance of 1400 kilometres. The successful commercial sailing raised a lot of interest among politicians and media and triggered further investments in maintenance works and fairway modernisation to increase the depth of the inland waterway.
In Sweden, the project developed a simulation and risk assessment of maritime passages in fairways used by tanker vessels. The simulation aimed to access the infrastructure measurements needed for better navigation along the inland waterway routes.
Better decision making when reliable data on inland water transport is in place
With the aim to create a harmonised navigation system in the Baltic Sea region, the project intensely engaged the representatives of waterway administrations. Improved information on fairway conditions, statistics on traffic flows and vessels´ traffic services allowed the administrating bodies to make better decisions on regulating navigation. Besides, other IWT stakeholders such as barge operators, forwarding companies and port operators received better access to reliable data. This allowed them to better plan and carry out operations.
Bridge clearance in Poland
Smart fairway solution in Finland
Port of Hamburg Marketing
- RepresentativeStefan Breitenbach
Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics
- RegionBremen, Kreisfreie Stadt
- RepresentativeArne Gehlhaar
Avatar Logistics AB
- RegionÖstergötlands län
- RepresentativeJohan Lantz
Regional Council of North Karelia
- RepresentativeRafał Modrzewski
Inland Navigation Office in Szczecin
- RepresentativePriotr Durajczyk
Lithuanian Inland Waterways Authority