What is Watertruck+?

Watertruck+ is a new, innovative way of transporting goods. It aims to reactivate small inland waterways by introducing a new concept for inland waterway transport. The initiative introduces an economically feasible alternative to oversaturated road transport via a flexible model of waterway transport that is complementary to the current waterway transport.

The three Watertruck+-pillars

1. Innovative design: Watertruck+ along your needs

Watertruck+ provides a universal standard design for various types of small inland barges. The standard design can be modified to satisfy the operational requirement of a specific goods flow (cargo flow): propulsion, hatches, lifting (pumping) systems, a small crane, etc. can be added or removed without having any major impact on the overall hull structure.

Furthermore, the barges can sail individually on small waterways or coupled together in convoys pushed by a push boat for transport on larger waterways. This results in a faster loading and unloading process and makes it possible to couple and decouple in a fast and flexible way. Decoupling loading and unloading from the navigation itself enhances the service ratio on the smaller waterways.

2. Modal shift

Watertruck+ encourages a modal shift including new flows which would otherwise have gone via road, and which makes inland waterway transport competitive to road transport. Watertruck+ enhances the interconnectivity and interoperability between the TEN-T core network and smaller inland waterways. It creates maximum flexibility while maintaining maximum regional coverage by connecting small inland waterways with the TEN-T network.

Operational and economic viability

The previous Interreg project Watertruck has demonstrated the operational and economic viability of the Watertruck concept. This study has been included in six demonstration projects in Belgium (Flanders and Brussels), the Netherlands and France. The Watertruck+ potential in the regions of West-Vlaanderen (Flanders) and Kempen (Campine, Flanders) amounted to 3 million tons of goods (of which at least half is modal shift), while the modal shift potential in the Netherlands (Northern Brabant) amounted to 0.4 million tons.

The Watertruck+ project aims to achieve a solution that is complementary to the existing inland waterways activities. The aim is to equip the market with business cases for a large European fleet of vessels by rolling out the Watertruck concept in various European regions.

3. Lower emissions

Watertruck+ was able to lower the barges’ noxious emissions by:

  • Examining the fuel type
    Alternative fuel types such as LNG, CNG, hydrogen, hybrid, were considered and determined during the project, as well as the propulsion type. CO2 emissions are reduced by at least 25% and the type of fuel and propulsion system comply at least comply with the EURO VI norm of road transport.
  • Decoupling loading from unloading
    This way on-board staff will only be sailing and no longer have to wait until the receiver has loaded or unloaded. During the loading or unloading the staff can operate on other barges.
  • Optimizing payload and efficiency because accomodation is no longer necessary
  • Grow the carrying capacity of fleets substantially:

  (CEMT I)
compared to Spits
compared to Kempenaar
Cargo weight (mt) +15% +12%
Cargo volume (m³) +18% +20%
Containers (TEU) N/A +20%

Contact: info@vlaamsewaterweg.be

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