Under the motto: "Cooperation of rail and inland navigation" the last expert exchange within this project took place on 23.11 in Krems. In addition to the guests from inland navigation, numerous representatives, from rail, freight forwarders and also intermodal operators were invited. The aim was to initiate a discussion that would highlight possibilities and opportunities in efficient combination of these two environmentally friendly modes of transport. The large response reflected the actuality of the subject, with more than 45 participants attending digitally or in person.
In the focus of this project, in addition to rolling loads, are intermodal units such as ISO containers. In this sense, the workshop was enriched with an interesting technical visit through the Rhenus Donauhafen Krems and the container terminal of METRANS. Mr. Andraschko and Mr. Gussmagg guided the group through numerous handling areas of the port area and pointed out current changes as well as future planned expansions. The participants had the privilege to experience first hand the loading at the container terminal with reach stackers as well as to watch the bridge crane "Rudi" unloading an inland vessel.
At the beginning of the workshop, Hans-Peter Hasenbichler highlighted the strengths of inland waterway transport and the support measures already taken to interconnect rail and inland waterway. Following this, Bettina Matzner highlighted the steps taken so far during the current project. After this very short introduction, the focus was on the experts from the field.
Andreas Mandl, from LTE highlighted the major challenges in European rail transport. The lack of interoperability still burdens the execution of international transports and exploding energy prices currently intensify the competition to road transport. Gerhard Harer, from Steiermarkbahn Transport und Logistik underlined the current challenges. "Since the goods transported by rail and inland waterway are very similar, there could be significant advantages and good synergies in cooperation." Harer is convinced. To achieve this, however, the nodes, i.e. the terminals, must also be further expanded efficiently. Additionally, bypass systems could be certified in advance with the partners in order to significantly shorten the preparation time in case of an incident.
After many years of experience, Valdet Farizi from the company Multinaut is also sure that inland navigation can make a valuable contribution to move large tonnages in an environmentally friendly way with less work force needed.
Mr. Dauser from Dalco presents a best practice example for thinking outside the box and using different modes of transport through the use of intermodal loading units. He reflected a current timber project to underline which new paths he is taking with this. The swap bodies used can be flexibly transported in all modes, beginning from round timber loaded directly from the production site to the shipment of semi-finished or finished products; rail and ship can be used for the transport of long distances across Europe.
Mr. Nothegger from the forwarding company Nothegger has also already gained experience with Danube Navigation. In a joint project with the Logistikum, the possibilities for the transport of 45-foot inland containers have already been investigated.
The detailed discussion with the experts showed that there are perspectives and willingness for a joint solution and cooperation between rail and inland navigation. In addition to the exploration of possible relations, customers and products, optimizations still have to be made in the individual systems, also with regard to multimodal loading units and transhipment hubs. Nevertheless, it is time to take advantage of the current change, to initiate cooperation between these modes of transport, and to jointly "educate" the customer toward environmentally friendly transport solutions.