As climate change severely affects the performance of IWT operations, the priority is to create and test new solutions for climate-neutral and climate-resilient IWT.
IWT system resilience is essentially co-dependent on infrastructure and barge/fleet reliability, maintainability, and fault tolerance. It embraces the sectors’ key priorities: sustainable infrastructure adjustments, environmental friendliness and competitiveness of vessel fleet, digitalisation, integration of IWT in multimodal transport chains, and securing the availability of skilled workers.
The European Commission sees the digitalisation of the Transport sector as a primary enabler of smart solutions for sustainable transport that can support resilience solutions and deliver economic, environmental, and societal benefits.
However, progress in adopting innovation by the IWT sector, and achieving the associated resilience and decarbonisation goals, will be unrestricted by technology limitations rather than systemic challenges affecting the European IWT digital and energy transition.
Historically, the waterborne sector has exhibited a passive and conservative posture towards innovation, as well as a reluctance to digitalise “best practices”. In IWT, this is principally owed to conventional “ways of operating” by barge skippers/owners, resulting in a highly ageing, inefficient fleet with unreliable and polluting operations.
To address these challenges, it is necessary to incentivise innovations across the dimensions outlined above and provide robust validation of how and where innovation can support the transition to a sustainable, resilient, high-efficiency IWT system.
As response to the abovementioned challenges and shortcomings,
ReNEW will deliver:
A decision-support framework including Resilience and Sustainability Quantification supporting the strategic planning and operational optimisation of Green Resilient IWT (GRIWT).
Innovative infrastructure resilience and sustainability solutions targeting rapid deployment after disruptive events to create new provisional links to other transport modes and building on autonomy developments and maturing green energy options.
A Green Resilient IWT Dataspace and Digital Twin providing data sharing between infrastructure monitoring, RIS and traffic management and emergency systems and climate solutions primarily.
Four Living Labs, out of which three LLs focusing on integrated IW and hinterland infrastructure [Gent-urban, Douro-corridor, Netherlands–national/EU network perspectives] and a LL addressing specifically inland waterway resilience.
ReNEW Outreach and Upscale program designed to maximise impact pathways spearheaded by the European Inland Waterways (IWT) Transport Platform and industry clusters as well as leading industry innovators.