The aim of the project is to address the attractiveness of small waterways in North West Europe (NWE). To do this we aim at building on to the results of the ECSWA-project (also called WATERSLAG in Dutch) which was financed by INTERREG III-B. ECSWA demonstrated the feasibility of transporting containers and bulk in two coupled barges. The economic advantages and societal benefits of coupling existing barges were proven in test runs in Flanders and the Netherlands.
To summarize: consumption of gasoil was substantially reduced, which had an effect on the exploitation costs of the vessels. As a result, freight rates dropped and cargo was shifted to waterways. This in turn decreased the negative external effects (emissions, accidents...) of road transport. After the successful finalization of ECSWA, the inland navigation sector has taken up the results of the project. Coupled barges are currently more and more introduced.
The current project, Innovative Inland Navigation (INLANAV), is aiming at:
- Demonstrating that the ECSWA-barges cover to the full extent the freight market. including palletized cargo and big bags.
- Developing second-generation ECSWA-barges by using the latest technological and logistics knowhow.
- Harmonizing manning and exploitation rules throughout NWE to facilitate and smoothen trans-regional flows and an international exploitation of the INLANAV-vessels.