Multimodal transportation solutions are the most promising facete for the future of the entire IWT sector. Imagine the endless possibilities if the sector could provide consolidation services with a minimum order size of one single unit, from door to door and the main distance transported by a vessel.
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Volumes of the EU freight transport sector is expected to increase by 80% until 2050. To absorb this growth, enlargement of the existing road network or building of new highways shall be avoided as long as we have free capacities on the inland waterways.
Currently the transportation chain by inland vessel is characterized by having mainly one seller - one buyer - one product - transported by one vessel. To use inland waterways to its maximum, IWT must become much more accessible for small and midsize customers, which would never be able to send a shipload of at least 1000 tonnes. Therefore, the sector needs new ideas which can turn it into a multimodal system, making it accessible for 20, 50 or 100 tonnes shipments.
Connecting multiple sellers and buyers and the usage of multimodal equipment will create a win-win situation for carriers and shippers, creating new business models for fertilizer, grains or even the general freight transport industry. Transshipments would be less affected by negative externalities, therefore, cargo loss, low water surcharges or interim storage costs could be reduced significantly, and cycle time would become more predictable. By introducing multimodal solutions for the transport of any cargo, as long as it is containerized, the EU could get closer to achieve its green objectives, hence, it will be able to reach the target of increasing the sector volumes by 25% till 2030 and respectively by 50% until 2050.