Inland Waterway Transportation in Northern Europe What Sweden could Learn from a Modal Shift Process in the Netherlands

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Supply chain management (MPSCM), MSc
Engström, Ebba Matilda
Anna, Abrahamsson
Freight transportation is a requirement for a competitive society. Following for example globalisation, the demand for transportation has increased. Unfortunately, the environment is negatively impacted by the emissions and congestion caused particularly by road transports using fossil fuels. The European Commission therefore aims to shift from road transport to environmentally less damaging alternatives. It is challenging since 96% of all transports are oil dependent, which is why improving the efficiency of the transport sector is urgent. Inland waterway transportation is an option for replacing road transports with the prospects of improving the environmental performance. Sweden currently has no systematic strategies or policies for transports on inland waterways, and despite available capacity the waterways are barely utilised. In northern Europe, however, the waterway capacity is embedded in the transport system and utilised to a larger extent. The thesis qualitatively examines characteristics of inland waterway transportation in the Netherlands and Belgium in order to identify key learnings for Swedish transport systems. The empirical study consists of interviews with companies located in the Netherlands and Belgium and the resulting data is contrasted with theoretical findings on the subject of inland waterway transportation. The findings include drivers, barriers and factors considered important when preparing for a modal shift from road transportation to inland waterway transportation. The main identified drivers are the less damaging environmental performance, reduced transport costs per tonne-kilometre and low level of congestion on waterways. The main identified barriers are slow pace of development of the maritime sector, high investment costs for equipment and infrastructure and poor hinterland connectivity. A modal shift process is proposed, where the most important factors are identified. The mental shift of stakeholders is crucial, which means acquiring a proactive mindset of sustainable transport solutions and the willingness to change current solutions. The mental shift is present in all steps of the modal shift process. Stakeholder motivation and the amount of effort that comes with it are significant in order to realise all potential benefits of inland waterway transportation. As a means to aid companies with the adoption and implementation of inland waterway transportation, a promotion agency could provide knowledge and guidance during the process. To further facilitate the adoption of inland waterway transportation, a joint administration system between the companies in the transport chain could simplify the complex process of intermodal administration.
Övrig industriell teknik och ekonomi , Other industrial engineering and economics
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