Exploiting inland waterway transportation (IWT) is an essential ingredient to reach the European
Commissions’ ambitious target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in the
upcoming decades. Over the next 36 months, the research project IW-NET will support the EC’s
strategic efforts by enabling and providing innovation for the IWT landscape.
Creating the “Innovation-driven Collaborative European Inland Waterways Transport Network”
The consortium of 26 companies, research institutions and public organizations from Austria,
Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain has teamed up to
develop and prove technological solutions and improvements for inland waterway transport. The
vision for the upcoming years is to create an “Innovation-driven Collaborative European Inland
Waterways Transport Network” (IW-NET).
Digitalization, infrastructure improvements and innovative vessel technologies
“In order to sustainably shift more transport to inland waterways, we need to change more than
just one parameter”, coordinator Nils Meyer-Larsen from the Institute of Shipping Economics and
Logistics (ISL) in Bremen and Bremerhaven explains. “Therefore, we will follow a holistic approach
which not only covers digitalization and multimodal integration in inland waterway transportation
but provides solutions for improved infrastructure management as well as for the next generation
The heart of the project is the IW-NET Living Lab that will serve as a testbed for the technological
approaches and solutions. Different application scenarios will comprise a diverse set of experiments
along representative corridors in Germany, Belgium, France and Austria and will thereby create
valuable insights on how to develop the future of European inland waterway transport.
The transport sector has a crucial role to play in the supply of goods, in particular medicines, medical devices, food and other essential commodities needed to overcome this crisis.