Inland shipping has numerous benefits. For one thing, a container shipped by barge produces fewer CO2 emissions than a container transported by truck. Inland vessels sail past traffic jams and they are able to transport many more containers with less manpower than trucks.
Sharing the load to make a change
For example, barge transport is only financially attractive when a vessel is well filled. But what if a shipper doesn’t have enough cargo to fill a barge on a regular basis? Stocking up isn’t always an option as it requires considerable investment and with some goods, such as perishables, time is of the essence. Another difficulty is the amount of research it takes to set up a new transport chain.
Lean and Green Barge, part of the Connekt Lean and Green programme and part of the Topsector Logistics action Synchromodality, removes these obstacles. The platform brings together shippers and facilitates the bundling of cargo in order to provide enough cargo to fill inland vessels. Through cooperation and collaboration, shippers are able to ship more regularly to and from Rotterdam and the supply chain becomes more efficient by combining container flows of full and empty containers.
Pioneers such as Heinz, Bavaria, Mars, Aviko and FrieslandCampina have already taken the plunge. With the help of Lean and Green Barge and the Inland Navigation Promotion (BVB), they have set up the first so-called barge lanes. Other shippers, big or small, can present their containers to these existing lanes, enabling them to switch from the road to water without having to set up a new transport chain.
The saying “the more, the merrier” is particularly true here. The more cargo that is bundled, the more efficient and economically beneficial the undertaking becomes for all parties involved. And with more barge lanes under development, the transition from the road to water has never been easier.