Sustainability is an important issue, in general, but especially in transport. Shippers and government have become increasingly demanding concerning sustainable requirements. The main advantage of inland navigation is its current position as one of the environmental friendliest modes of transport. Inland navigation has especially low CO2-emissions compared to road transport. However, in order to maintain the position as one of the environmental friendliest modes of transport, it is important to keep on innovating and to further reduce the emissions. The aim is to become eventually a 'zero-emission' mode of transport.

In order to become a zero-emission mode of transport, many different projects have been performed, for example the use of sulphur-free fuel, SCR-filters and the application of LNG, bio fuels and electric propulsion, trying to reduce the air pollution of inland navigation. Furthermore, it is also important to create awareness of navigating energy-friendly, to underline the potential advantages of sustainability for the skipper, ship-owner and to show that sustainability is in their interest. This is possible by the use awareness programs, certifications and tools. An example is the use of the 'Advising Tempomaat', which advises the skipper on the route in order to save fuel.

Also waste management is a relevant issue in inland navigation, because waterway transport causes water pollution, partly by discharging bilge water and domestic waste water. It is important to find ways of reducing the amount of waste.




Emission reduction

Although inland navigation has low CO2-emissions, a study of the Dutch research institute CE Delft concluded that other emissions are relatively high compared to other modes of transport, especially the emissions that cause air pollution. There are several applications that can reduce these emissions.

For example, the use of sulphur-free fuel reduces the emissions of PM and SO2. EN590 is a sort of sulphur-free gasoil, resulting in a lower emission of particulate matters and sulphur dioxide. Additional benefits of the use of EN590 are a longer lifetime of the engine. The use of a PM-filter or an SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction)-Catalyst also leads to reduction of respectively Particulate Matters and NOx. Another option is to use an LNG-engine (or a dual fuel motor with LNG and diesel), reducing emissions in comparison to the use of diesel. Next to that, also with the use of diesel-electric propulsion emissions can be reduced.

Many urban areas have problems with a high level of air pollution. In order to improve the quality of the air, Walstroom (quayside electrical supply for modern IWT) is used, serving to supply electricity to vessels. Due to Walstroom, the emission of NOx and CO2 decreases locally in the urban port areas. An additional advantage is the decrease of noise pollution in residential areas.


Creating awareness

Not only innovative techniques, also the creation of awareness is important for sustainable development of inland navigation. One example of creating awareness is the Dutch program 'Voortvarend besparen', this program exists of different parts. As part of this program, there also is a fuel competition (CO2mpetition), in which skippers, ship owners and shipping companies compete with their ships in different categories. Aim of the competition is to reduce the relative use of fuel compared to the year before. The aim of this competition is to create awareness of the ways of fuel-saving.

Within the project 'Voortvarend besparen', the use of the 'Advising Tempomaat' was subsidized. The 'Advising Tempomaat' is a computer system that advises - based on several parameters - the skipper on what route he should take, in order to save fuel, reduce CO2-emissions and thus navigate more energy-friendly. Advantages of the use of the advising tempomaat is - next to fuel saving and reduction of CO2-emissions - a steadier use of the engine and an improved navigation planning.

Another way to create awareness for the sustainable development of inland navigation is to set up a certification system for sustainability. One example is Green Award, a voluntary awarding system, in which vessels can be awarded if they meet the requirements. Green Award started as an award for seagoing vessels. However, Green Award has recently also been introduced in inland navigation.


Presentations on this topic at the Rivers of the World Forum: