Novel inland waterway transport concepts for moving freight effectively

What we do

Inland waterborne transport (IWT) is a major key-holder for unlocking the congestion in seaports, terminals, road networks and access to urban areas, besides being a main factor in reducing CO2 emissions in transport.

These advantages however are not fully exploited due to inefficiencies in the seaport-inland logistics chain. Think of containers and vessels which are not loaded to their full capacities resulting in a sub-optimal use of the IWT-capacity. Intercontinental and intra-continental cargo (containers) designated for IWT is not yet delivered in large packages causing inland ships calling at many (6-8) terminals to collect a few containers with waiting time at and sailing time between terminals adding-up to 60% of the total time spent in port.

And of course there are varying water levels limiting ship payloads due to insufficient air draught under bridges, possibly forbidden navigation in extreme high water periods and raised transport costs at low water.

Another example can be found at volatile water levels and ever-changing river bed conditions impeding optimal river navigation and cause time losses. Not to forget waiting time at bridges/locks causing additional inefficiencies in IWT-operations.

Thus the core NOVIMOVE-challenge is: where, how and with whom to intervene in the logistics system to obtain the largest possible impact at the lowest possible cost?

3 problems

  1. A density problem: the entire logistics system needs to be compressed, meaning higher load factors, less time in port, shorter waiting times at bridges and locks, optimal navigation on rivers;
  2. A data fusion problem: data collection, access to data sources, data perception and data analysis must be significantly improved to support a more dense logistics system;
  3. A plan and control problem: effective management of cargo flows, vessels, port terminals and waterways infrastructures for a compressed logistics system depends on data and information qualities that are not sufficiently available yet.


6 main ideas

  1. Improved load factor of containers by means of cargo reconstruction;
  2. Improved port logistics by reducing waiting times at terminals and sailing time between terminals;
  3. Improved river navigation by satellite, sensor and data fusion;
  4. Reduced waiting time at bridges and locks by dynamic scheduling system;
  5. Innovative vessel solutions to cope with variable water levels;
  6. New business models in current stakeholders’ networks.

The NOVIMOVE focus will be on enhancing the logistics system density.


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