An Economic Feasibility Study for the Upgrade of the Small Inland Waterways

An Economic Feasibility Study for the Upgrade of the Small Inland Waterways


M Beelen, P Markianidou, T Pauwels, T Vanelslander, E Van Hassel, University of Antwerp, BE



?An economic feasibility study for the upgrade of the small inland waterways?

Authors: Marjan Beelen, Paresa Markianidou, Tom Pauwels, Thierry Vanelslander en Edwin Van Hassel

Key words: Inland navigation, waterway improvement, transport

This paper will describe the economic feasibility of upgrading small inland waterways from CEMT 1 or 2 to CEMT 4 or higher by upgrading the locks on the waterway under investigation and deepening and widening the waterway. The hypothesis would be that if the waterway is larger, bigger ships can sail on it and therefore the transportation costs per ton (or TEU) will be reduced. This reduction in costs could lead to a modal shift from the road to the inland waterways.

The main question is whether a reduction of the transportation costs could lead to a modal shift from road to inland water transport.

The case study will be based on a study for the upgrading of the inland waterway Dessel-Bocholt, which is located in Flanders, from a class II waterway to a class IV waterway.

This case study consists of two main parts. The first part is a micro-economic analysis of the present situation of the small inland waterways and the cargo flows of the investigated waterway. This first part is complemented by a cost calculation in order to examine the effects of sailing with larger ships on the specific route. The costs calculation will also include the waiting times of the ships in a (sea) port, the passing from locks and the actual sailing of the barge. Besides the theoretical approach of analyzing origin-destination data and performing costs calculations, an online survey will be incorporated for the purpose of investigating whether the companies which are located in the region of the waterway will shift their cargo from road transport to inland navigation in case of reduced transportation costs . The companies which are located at a waterway and are already using inland shipping will be questioned directly with a face to face interview.

The second part of the case study is a macro-economic analysis of the effect of the waterways? upgrading. By applying scenarios under different specifications, with the use of the Freight-Model-Flanders, the potential modal shift from road transport to inland shipping will be investigated. Attention will also be given to the trend towards increasing inland navigation vessels? size. The findings of the macro-economic analyses will finally be compared with the results of the interviews concerning the predicted cargo flows.


Association for European Transport