What Markets Are There For Transport by Inland Waterways?

European Conference of Ministers of Transport

Despite the fact that the freight transport market in Europe almost doubled in volume over the period 1970 to 1995, growth in the inland waterway sector has remained stagnant. Until now the waterways have primarily been used to transport goods produced by sectors that have been hard hit by industrial restructuring. However, the past does not necessarily hold the key to the future. Waterways can be readily incorporated into logistics chains in which regular supply streams and low transport costs are more important than speed. The transportation of hazardous materials and container transport also offer promising markets.

The Round Table identified a number of policy measures which could help to promote development in the inland waterways sector (discontinuation of scrapping policies, support for the grouping of enterprises and the creation of co-operatives, incentives for private-sector investment). Reading the proceedings of this Round Table offers an opportunity to look at the inland waterways in a wholly new light which shows that there is a genuine future for this mode provided that operators are prepared to become entrepreneurs.

English French