Every two years the prestigious “Smart Rivers Conference” highlights the latest initiatives to prepare inland waterways for a sustainable future. In 2019, over 300 delegates met in Lyon, at the convergence of the Rivers Rhone and Saone, which share a long-lasting legacy of inland waterway transportation (IWT).

Topics included the use of digitisation and the impact of climate change on waterways. #IWTS 2.0 partners bremenports and SSPA presented two talks on waterborne city logistics and the modal shift process.

Lars Stemmler of bremenports illustrated in his talk how city logistics by barge can be stepstone to bring together inland shipping, logistics education and urban development. Within the #IWTS 2.0 project bremenports is responsible for bringing inland navigation onto the mental radarscreens of logistics decision makers. For this, bremenports established the website www.project-iwts20.eu which provides a comprehensive introduction to inland navigation.

“Modal shift is mind-shift”

Dr. Lars Stemmler, bremenports

Vendela Santén of SSPA elaborated ways to facilitate an increased use of IWT. Based on projects to link the Port of Gothenborg, Sweden, to hinterland destination by barge, she outlined hurdles of the modal shift process.

The event was organised by the French section of PIANC, the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure. Established in 1885, PIANC continues to be the leading partner for government and private sector in the design, development and maintenance of ports, waterways and coastal areas.