What potential has inland shipping to bring more sustainability into transport chains? This was the question which nine students of the JADE University of Applied Science addressed. bremenports approached the university to research and summarised the potential inland shipping has for greener supply chains. This study forms part of the new website www.project-iwts20.eu which provides a learning inventory for students and professionals in logistics to learn more about inland shipping. The website´s final objective is to encourage a mind-shift for a modal shift offering an easy to understand introduction to inland shipping.
The students who study maritime logistics pointed to the fact that inland shipping just consumes only a tenth of fuel that a truck needs per tonne per kilometre. However, integrating inland shipping into supply chains is the key to success. Besides the scientific research, two expert interviews conducted by the students, make this case. In the first, a freight forwarder stresses that inland shipping, if cleverly combined with road freight, can offer competitive prices and transit times to shippers. The performance of inland ports play a role as well. In the second interview, a port manager encourages shippers to use ports as hubs for storage and value-adding services along intermodal transport chains. At least in terms of transportation, ports are efficient places to combine all transport modes.
The advantages of inland shipping can only be realised if all transport modes are considered part of a wider system. The students conclude that there should be no room for modal competition. However, a good transport chain is a matter of complementing each mode´s specific advantages.