02 aug2017

Where do the 3 million tonnes of freight load come from, that Watertruck+ claims to have? What do these loads consist of and which flows are involved? How certain is it that these loads are 100% new loads, derived from road transport?

The operational and economic feasibility of the concept was investigated during the Interreg IVB project Watertruck (http://watertruck.be/) that was executed between 2010 and 2014.

In Flanders’ regions Campine and West Flanders, an analysis was made of about 14 million tonnes (69 shippers) of which 3 million tonnes could be transported with the Watertruck+ concept. For at least half of these 3 million tonnes, a modal shift is possible.

Shipper Waterwegen & Zeekanaal (W&Z) Nieuwe Stede has assigned an operator to move 415.000 tonnes of soil spread over 7 years. If it hadn’t been for Watertruck+, these loads would have been transported by road.

The real life trial at this stage contains at this stage the transport volumes from 5 to 10 different parties assigned in Call I & II, who will be contracted for an estimated yearly volume of ca. 519.000 tonnes. At present, more than half of this volume has been assigned, of which 82% via new flows. The remaining 18% consists of volumes that are already transported by an involved operator and that are recorded into long-term contracts. Therefore there will be no distortion of the market.

Another opportunity for attracting new freight for inland navigation is addressing shippers who used to transport goods over water and are therefore are still located by the waterways. They are still not convinced of the great advantages of inland navigation. Thus an important historic amount of freight is lost for which new vessels are needed. Watertruck+ strives to offer a competitive alternative for transport by road by creating a flexible model for transport by water, that is complementary to the current inland navigation.

This trial phase shall provide us with more information about:

  • the construction costs, through efforts to achieve greater standardisation and a modular structural design.
  • the operating costs, as a result of efforts to implement a different logistical organisation and more efficient propulsion systems.

These parameters shall be combined with a financial toolbox. This financial toolbox shall comprise available financial tools that will support the roll-out of the concept in Europe. The operational parameters and the financial toolbox will result in a master plan consisting of business cases for the construction of a new fleet of Watertrucks throughout Europe, driven by private investments.

Contact: info@vlaamsewaterweg.be

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