Wednesday, October 6, 2021

European Inland Waterway Freight Receives Digital Boost

Exploration of Infrastructure of Information Services
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – Hamburg Port Consulting (HPC), which supplies a logistics consultancy for ports, maritime and inland terminals as well as intermodal rail transport, has been commissioned by the German Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping (GDWS) to conduct a study on information services for ports and terminals.

As the central federal authority of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, the GDWS is participating in the ‘Digitalisation of Inland Waterways’ (DIWA) project, which is funded by the EU's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme and involves four other national inland waterway authorities: the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Austria.

The project aims to develop a common, integrated strategy for the digitalisation of the inland waterways of the TEN-T corridors, making the transport mode more competitive and sustainable in the long term. In a joint statement Thomas Wagner, Head of Department for Inland Transport Engineering and Tobias Aretz, National DIWA Coordinator (both GDWS), said:

"We at GDWS are pleased that, together with our European project partners, we will be able to help shape the future of European inland waterway transport and to contribute to this environmentally friendly mode yielding an even better performance.”

As part of the business process of developing a framework for the DIWA master plan, HPC will be building an inventory of the data inter-faces between inland navigation operators and European ports, as well as the IT system landscape. The aim is to determine the existing level of digital maturity and future potential with regard to the digitalisation of the processes engaging ports and inland navigation. Hartmut Beyer, authorised signatory at HPC says he is convinced that:

“The digital transformation of the inland waterways network will significantly increase the attractiveness of the mode for customers. At HPC, we are very pleased to be able to input into the strategic development of this important trans-European project with our combined port and IT know-how. Against the background of the heavy utilisation of road and railway systems, the integration of inland navigation into the overall development of intermodal transport concepts is very welcome."

HPC has many years of experience in this sector and has advised national and international inland ports on operational issues, analyses and digitalisation projects. For example, HPC supports the Hamburg Vessel Coordination Centre (HVCC) in optimisation and coordination of manoeuvring when feeder vessels and larger ships meet in restricted parts of the Elbe or in port. In addition, HPC has successfully implemented digitalisation and inland navigation projects for operators on the Rhine, in India and the US.