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Research on Inland Waterways



Research on Inland Waterways

Background & policy context: 

The continuing growth of road transport has led to unacceptable damage to the environment and congestion on European road networks. One way of helping to relieve this situation would be the modal move towards rail and waterborne transport. Such a modal shift would only work, for example, if inland navigation becomes financially and operationally attractive to shipping and industry.

In order to improve the commercial viability of inland waterway transport, a number of research projects have been initiated by the 4th Framework Programme of the European Union. Currently these are:

  • INCARNATION - is concerned with the provision of vessel traffic information services for inland waterways. It aims specifically to examine the feasibility of supplying river navigators directly onboard their vessels, with operational traffic images from the shore-based radar and other information sources
  • EUDET - will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the Danube Waterway's efficiency as a key infrastructure of the south-east axis supporting traffic flows between western and eastern Europe
  • Shifting Cargo - seeks to increase the utilisation of Europe's waterways by the identification of short and long term strategies, and aims to submit proposals and guidelines for pilot projects
  • RINAC - seeks to identify the functional requirements for the introduction of a control centre on board an inland navigation vessel which integrates shore-based radar and transponder systems

The Concerted Action aims to:

  • Coordinate research and development projects on inland navigation funded by the European Union, national or private bodies
  • Identify obstacles responsible for the low profile of inland waterway transportation and define remedial actions
  • Support the implementation of pilot projects with the objective of demonstrating the results of the research projects
  • Evaluate remedial action proposals with respect to European and national objectives, regulations and practical use
  • Prepare a consensus report on the research results and recommendations
  • Disseminate approved recommendations
Institution Type:
Institution Name: 
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding:


The Technical Secretariat is coordinated by HSVA with assistance from Delft Hydraulics and Dr Thomas Degre (INRETS now IFSTTAR).

Contact Name: 
Dr Joachim Schwarz
the Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt GmbH (HSVA)
Bramfelder Strasse 164
Contact country:
+49 (0) 40 69203 428
Fax Number: 
+49 (0) 40 69203 345