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Innovation driven Collaborative European Inland Waterways Transport Network

Project description

Solutions that drive inland waterway transport

Exploiting inland waterway transportation (IWT) is an essential ingredient to reach the European Commissions’ targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in the upcoming decades. Especially in dense urban areas, today’s road and rail networks, which also accommodate passenger transport, have already reached their capacity limits. In this regard, IWT not only represents an environmentally friendly but an economically advantageous alternative. The vision of the EU-funded IW-NET project is to create an 'Innovation-driven Collaborative European Inland Waterways Transport Network' by following a holistic approach that not only covers digitalisation and multimodal integration in IWT but provides organisational and technological solutions for improved infrastructure management as well as for the next generation of green and innovative vessels.


IW-NET will deliver a multimodal optimisation process across the EU Transport System, increasing the modal share of IWT and supporting the EC’s ambitions to reduce transport GHG emissions by two thirds by 2050. Enablers for sustainable infrastructure management and innovative vessels will support an efficient and competitive IWT sector addressing infrastructure bottlenecks, insufficient IT integration along the chain and slow adoption of technologies such as new vessel types, alternative fuels, automation, IoT, machine learning. The Living Lab will apply user-centered application scenarios in important TEN-T corridors demonstrating and evaluating the impacts in simulations and tests covering technological, organisational, legal, economical, ecological, and safety/security issues:
1) Digitalisation: optimised planning of barge operations serving dense urban areas with predictive demand routing (Brussels-Antwerp-Courtrai-Lille-Valenciennes); data driven optimisation on navigability in uncertain water conditions (Danube).
2) Sustainable Infrastructure and Intelligent Traffic Management: lock forecasting reducing uncertainty in voyage planning; lock planning; management of fairway sections where encounters are prohibited; berth planning with mandatory shore power supply and other services (hinterland of Bremerhaven via Weser/Mittelland Canal).
3) Innovative vessels: new barge designs fitting corridor conditions and target markets: barges with a high degree of automation for urban distribution (East Flanders-Ghent); new barge for push boats capable with low/high water levels optimising capacities (Danube from Austria to Romania); use of GALILEO services for advanced driver assistance like guidance, bridge height warning and automatic lock entering (Spree-Oder waterway close to Berlin).

Accompanying activities are stakeholder engagement, capacity building, and the delivery of a European IWT development roadmap with policy recommendations for increasing the IWT share.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 1 179 125,00
28359 Bremen

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Bremen Bremen Bremen, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 1 179 125,00

Participants (28)