Increasing the accessibility of the seaports in Flanders and relieving the pressure on the road network are the objectives of the Impulsprogramma binnenvaart [Stimulus programme for inland navigation], a collaboration between the Department of Mobility and Public Works (MOW), Port of Antwerp-Bruges, North Sea Port, and Lantis. Within the framework of that programme, the Flemish Government, at the instigation of Flanders' Minister Lydia Peeters, recently approved five projects. These projects are intended to improve the intermodal supply to and from Flemish ports through new corridor shuttles.
Promoting inland navigation
With the Stimulus programme, the Flemish government (Department of Mobility and Public Works and Lantis), Port of Antwerp-Bruges and North Sea Port wish to provide temporary support to the inland navigation sector. Specifically, inland terminals, barge operators, and other intermodal parties were prompted early this year by a market survey to develop cooperation projects (corridor shuttles and terminal-hub shuttles) on the various shipping routes to and from Port of Antwerp-Bruges. The aim is to make the handling of container barges at the maritime quays more reliable and to reduce waiting times at the port. Cooperation between inland terminals in the hinterland is an important precondition for this; a more attractive supply of inland navigation options contributes to a modal shift from road transport to inland navigation. Lantis, the developer of the Oosterweel works project, is fully committed to this measure, which forms part of the 'Minder Hinder' [Less Nuisance] campaign to reduce traffic jams on the Antwerp Ring.
Selected consortia new corridor shuttles
Nine project consortia applied and five project proposals relating to new corridor shuttles were selected. For the first year, the project partners made available a maximum of €2,671,959.95 in grants.
Participating terminals will establish regular inland navigation services between maritime terminals and inland terminals located along the same corridor. In each collaboration, containers are bundled together on one 'corridor ship', a combination of a pusher and a barge, on the various shipping routes to and from Port of Antwerp-Bruges.
Lydia Peeters, Flanders' Minister of Mobility and Public Works, explains: "For the next four years, this programme will free up over 2.5 million euros annually to provide additional stimulus for the modal shift from road transport to inland navigation, to increase the supply and to improve the reliability of container inland navigation. This cooperation should lead to better functioning of the integral logistics chain from and to the Flemish seaports. We are boosting transport between our Flemish seaports and inland terminals and creating efficiency gains for firms. The ambition by 2030 is to increase the share of containerised inland navigation to and from Antwerp to 42%."
Annick De Ridder, Port Alderman of the City of Antwerp and chair of the board of directors of Port of Antwerp-Bruges: "This initiative fits in perfectly with our aim to improve the reliability and efficiency of container inland navigation in our port. By working together on key shipping routes, we bundle volumes and achieve smoother handling at container terminals. This increases the attractiveness of inland navigation for container transport."
Daan Schalck, CEO North Sea Port: “North Sea Port is pushing for more sustainable and more efficient transport. In North Sea Port, 58% of maritime flows to and from the hinterland already goes via inland navigation. Our ambition to further increase the transport of containers via inland navigation, and to create more regular inland navigation connections by bundling flows of goods and more collaborations, fits in nicely with this Inland Navigation Stimulus Programme."
More information about the Stimulus programme can be found at www.vlaanderen.be/marktbevraging-versnelling-modal-shift.
Photo: copyright Port of Antwerp-Bruges.