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Concepts to reduce environmental impact and attain optimal transport performance by inland navigation

CREATING will improve competitive transportation in inland waterway systems by introducing new logistical and vessel concepts with optimised performance on hydrodynamics, fuel economy and environmental impact, thus improving safety and efficiency.

Tags: Water


One of the measures proposed in the White Paper, European transport policy for 2010: a time to decide is promoting waterborne transport. Inland navigation is stated as a “key component of intermodality, which must provide a means of coping with the growing congestion of road and rail transport and of tackling air pollution”. At present, it has been underused, even though there is a huge potential for inland waterborne transport, with a dense network of rivers and canals linking to the basins of the rivers which flow into the Atlantic and the North Sea, and linked to the Danube basin and Black Sea.

CREATING aims to reinforce the position of inland navigation, targeting RTD on integration and consistent validation of innovative intermodal vessel concepts and systems, to attain optimal sustainable transport performance, with the objective to:

  • reduce the congestion problems in European transport and cope with the predicted growth of transport
  • strengthen the competitiveness of the inland navigation link in logistic transport chains, by integrating relevant research domains to create new intermodal logistic concepts and link up all players in the logistics chain
  • optimise innovative, safe and sustainable inland navigation concepts, focussing on significant reduction of emissions, optimal efficiency, and safety for vessels and the environment.


The scientific and technological objectives of the project are to determine or develop:

  1. Logistic chains in the transport markets which can be made ‘more maritime’ in new intermodal concepts. Sustainable transport performance indicators will be developed to facilitate the selection of feasible transport for modal shift. This has to result in logistical requirements for innovative vessel concepts and technical challenges for efficiency (cargo handling), safety and emissions;
  2. Conceptual designs of innovative vessel concepts optimising performance in terms of logistics, economy, efficiency, environmental impact and safety;
  3. A methodology to analyse and validate the overall performance of future logistic chains to determine a scientific assessment of performances in the ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ situation of the elaborated concepts.
  4. Methods and solutions to minimise emissions by:

    • Reducing hull resistance and improving propulsion efficiency in order to reduce fuel consumption
    • Researching alternative fuel (treatment) and fuel cell applications;
    • Reducing NOx and soot particles by researching fuel pre-treatments, combustion technology and exhaust gas treatments;
  5. Methods and solutions to optimise safety in vessel concepts including improved construction, navigation, manoeuvring and the harmonisation of accident registration in Europe.

Description of work

Work package (WP) 2: To improve the position of inland navigation (IWWT) in the transport chain, it is important to have a good insight into the continental cargo flows. The feasibility of shifting cargo to inland navigation will be based on criteria developed in this project. The functional requirements for the new ships will be specified.

WP3: The requirements will lead to the design of the ships, also taking into account the input gained from other WPs.

WP 5: The ship design will be based on optimal hydrodynamics. A toolbox will be made to assist in the design of the hull form and propulsion system.

WP6: Ships can be made much cleaner by applying clean fuel and retrofitting techniques. We will concentrate on reducing the exhaust of NOx, fine soot particles and sulphur, and fuel cell technology.

WP8 and 9 will determine whether further improvements are possible to reduce the probability of collision and the effects of an accident.

WP4 will define the performance of the ships in monetary and environmental terms, compared to other modalities.

WP7: Interesting developments in terms of the application of retrofitting techniques, energy management, modern propulsion systems, fuel cell technology, safe construction methods and ships with optimised performance will be demonstrated here.

WP10 will report and disseminate the integrated results to stakeholders, including possible impacts on regulations.


The following reports will result from CREATING:

WP2: Logistic requirements for the inland navigation part of the transport chain, taking into account the overall efficiency/feasibility of the transport chain and the functional design requirements with respect to inland ships, including all cargo handling aspects.

WP3: The concept design of at least four inland ships based on the requirements discovered in WP2.

WP4: The effect of CREATING ships on the performance of inland navigation.

WP5 Indicating the possible improvements in terms of exhausts and the exploitation of inland ships.

WP6: The performance of the engines and their physical limits in terms of efficiency and exhaust. Due attention will be paid to retrofit techniques, fuel management, and a decrease in the exhausts of NOx and fine soot.

WP7: Demonstrator report, including the explanation of the principles, the measured effects on exhaust, and calculation methods enabling all ship-owners to decide on whether it is worthwhile to invest in the new developments.

WP8 reports on the calculation of risks and registration of accidents and the definition of the safety contours for a number of relevant situations.

WP9: An overall report on all measures which can be taken by the ship to reduce the probability of accidents, as well as the effects thereof.

WP10: A final report that integrates all the results obtained with an indication of possible impacts on rules and regulations.