1 Introduction

This keynote paper presents the PIANC Inland Navigation Commission (INCOM; http://incomnews.org/). INCOM is one of the 4 technical commissions of PIANC, which is targeting to Inland Navigation, and particularly to the waterway infrastructure and management.

In this paper, we review few recent INCOM reports (already published) and the currently running INCOM Working Groups (WG), which will release soon their reports (2023–2025).

In August 2022, the active InCom members are:

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2 Recent Published INCOM WG Report

Here are some recent INCOM/PIANC reports, published and released by PIANC (available on https://www.pianc.org/publications/inland-navigation-commission).

WG 125: Permanent WG on River Information Services (RIS)

  • WG 125/I – Guidelines and Recommendations for River Information Services;

  • WG 125/II – Technical Report on the Status of River Information Services;

  • WG 125/III – RIS Related Definitions 2019.

Chair: Cas Willems (NL)

https://www.pianc.org/publications/inland- navigation-commission/wg125-1

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WG 179 – Standardization of Inland Waterways – Proposal for the Revision of the ECMT 1992 Classification;

Chair: Ivo Ten Broeke (RWS, NL)


In 2016, the WG 179sent a questionnaire to all PIANC National Sections to collect information about the applied classification for inland waterways in their countries and their suggestions for modernizing the current ECMT (1992) and UN/ECE classifications.

Based on the results of the questionnaire, the WG concluded that in Europe the connected waterways share a common classification. However, inland navigation and the inland waterways fleet in other countries is rather different from that in Europe. The WG started an investigation into developments in the inland waterways fleet in Europe. The overall waterway network was studied, and the specific dimensions of existing locks and bridges have been considered in drafting a new classification proposal.

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The report includes:

  • a proposal for new EU classification and the differences between the ECMT and UNECE classifications are highlighted and explained.

  • a description of fleet characteristics and of waterway characteristics.

  • enhances the fleet and waterway characteristics findings through a market analysis.

  • the synthesis of the information presented in the report to develop the proposal for a revised classification.

WG 189 – Fatigue of Hydraulic Steel Structures;

Chair: Dirk Jan Peters (RHDHV, NL),


This report contains a detailed analysis of the current engineering practice and offers guidelines for a more uniform, systematic approach to fatigue related issues. It provides a summary of the appropriate design tools, analysis methods, technical codes, other guidelines and best practices. It gives examples of both correct and incorrect solutions, provides the discussion of crucial issues and presents the lessons learned from fatigue failures of hydraulic structures. Apart from the design, the report also provides proper recommendations and best practices for the repair of different fatigue damages and for the management (particularly monitoring and assessment) of structures exposed to fatigue.

The existing guidelines and norms that handle fatigue of structures in other fields have thoroughly been reviewed and recommended if and where appropriate.

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The matters that have been investigated include: Nature of fatigue in hydraulic structures, significance and specific character of fatigue damage; Identification of fatigue loads, their sources, characters and correlations.

WG 191 – Composites for Hydraulic Structures

Chair: Hota Gangarao (WVU, USA),



Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siPPp9ub88g

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR5jcortYH8

Composites have been evolving over the years and are making major in-roads into the marine, aviation and other industries where corrosions and self-weight are the major impediments to advancing the state-of-the-art. Civil Works engineers have been reluctant to take advantage of these composite materials and systems, partially because of the absence of well documented success stories, accepted design and construction practices or specifications, limited understanding of composite system behavior, absence of training in design, construction, evaluation and repair, higher initial costs in some applications and others including unfavorable reputation for recycling. A few navigational structures using fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites have recently been designed, manufactured and installed in the United States of America, France, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and other countries. US Army Corps of Engineers is embarking on higher volume applications of composites for navigational structures.

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This report summarizes the state of the art of FRP composites for hydraulic structures including design, construction, evaluation and repair. For clarity and brevity, only essential concepts related to composites, major manufacturing methods, key structural characteristics and engineering science issues of composites are briefly included in the report, while more in-depth general discussions related to composites are directed for deeper exploration by readers through an extensive set of references provided in this report. Emphasis is placed on applications of composites in waterfront, marine, navigational structures including lock gates, gates and protection systems. Design of composite hydraulic structures is presented or referenced for the cases available, such as design of FRP Recess Panel, Wicket Gates, Miter Gates, FRP gates and repair of corroded Steel Piles. This is followed by discussions on operation and maintenance guidance including nondestructive inspection ad evaluation techniques. Cost considerations are discussed in Chapter 7. The report concludes with summary remarks and recommendations.

WG 192 – Report on the Developments in the Automation and Remote Operation on Locks and Bridges

Chair: Lieven Dejonckheere, Vlamse Waterweg, BE


Since 2008, there are a lot more waterways that have implemented or in the process of implementing remote operation technology. At the same time, events around the world have led to a much tighter security posture for marine transportation. These have a significant impact on remote operation of locks and bridges.

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The objective of this WG concerns the automation and remote operation of locks and bridges to reflect technological advancement and new considerations related to remote operation.

The WG have collected recent development and case studies from different countries on remote operation of structures. The standards, guidelines and best practices in this field have been reviewed critically. The matters that have been investigated include:

  • New development in remote operation of structures

  • Physical security including perimeter protection, intrusion detection technology, video analytic and access control

  • Network security including protection of data, intrusion prevention/detection (hackers), etc.

  • Integration of SCADA and Process control with other systems such as traffic management, RIS, ERP

  • Scanning & video technology including High Definition cameras, thermal cameras and advanced image processing such as facial recognition

  • Human Factor Engineering

  • Simulation technology for training & certification of operators

  • Big Data Analysis

  • Self-learning technology.

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WG 197 – Small Hydro Power Plant in Waterways

Chair: Nicholas Crosby, KCAL-Global, UK


Webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0jJJ5QRgiM

Hydropower structures are rarely built for a single purpose. Hydropower is usually incorporated in a multipurpose system used for water storage (irrigation and drinking water), flood attenuation and water management, navigation, and amenity. In most fully developed economies, all the large commercially viable hydropower potentials have been developed. Even in developing economies, hydropower is often well developed with most of the larger schemes having been developed or under development. However, there is considerable potential in all countries to increase hydro capacity using small, mini- or micro-sized turbines on smaller water courses, rivers, and even man-made canals.

Any organization that controls or manages a water course can utilize the potential of moving water to generate renewable energy and inland navigations are an obvious possibility with existing infrastructure creating differences in level and water movement.

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In the past, the developers of navigations paid little attention to the effect on the environment of the creation of the navigation. Rivers and water courses were blocked with weirs and dams to facilitate the passage of vessels, preventing the long-distance migration of diadromous fish to/from the sea and even the localized potamodromous movement of fish within the freshwater river system. The transportation of silt downstream during floods, often a source of land fertilization for deltas in the lower reaches, can be blocked by the dams, weirs and other control structures causing land degradation a long way downstream.

WG 198 – Saltwater Intrusion Mitigation in Inland Waterways

Chair: Tom O’MAhoney (NL) and Ruifeng Ray Liang (Co-chair)


Webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siPPp9ub88g

This report provides recommendations for the study of saltwater intrusion in inland waterways and, where necessary or required, its mitigation. Mitigation methods are summarised as well as measurement and modelling techniques that can be used to predict or determine the effectiveness of various measures. Attention is given to both inland waterways (i.e. waterways that are enclosed via dams with shipping locks) and to open river estuaries.

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The objectives of the WG were to provide guidance and insight into the measuring, modelling and mitigating saltwater intrusion:

  • Quantify salt propagation (speed, distance and concentration);

  • Monitor waterway salinity intrusion,

  • Measurement: how saltwater intrusion can be measured and monitored;

  • Modelling: Physics based multi-dimensional modelling, and physical modelling for insight and solution discovery for salinity intrusion issues,

  • Mitigation: Methods for arresting salinity intrusion.

WG 201 – Framework for an Inland Waterway Classification in South America

Chairs: Philippe Rigo (ULiege, BE), Ricardo Sánchez and Azhar Jaimurzina (ECLAC- CEPAL, UN)


The river network in South America (S.A.) is extensive and consists of some of the largest river basins in the world. However, despite these natural features, inland navigation is underutilized and still plays a marginal role in the transport of commercial goods in the region.

In South America, there are several independent inland waterway systems, which currently have varying levels of development and investment. From a macro perspective, the uses of the inland waterways in the S.A. regions/countries are challenged by various factors. These factors include: a low level of investment in the construction and maintenance of waterway infrastructures and inland ports; incomplete, outdated or absent national and regional norms and regulatory frameworks; poor administrative structures and institutional capacities; limited use of navigational services and technologies.

These challenges have limited the potential of inland navigation, affecting not only the direct use of this mode of transport, but also its integration with other modes.

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A common inland waterway classification for South America could be a tool to support the development of inland navigation in South America. Given the experiences in other regions of the world (EU, USA, China, etc.), such classifications can be a powerful and dynamic way to support and implement inland waterway policies and projects as it enables the identification of the limitations and the economic potential of navigable waterways in the region and can encourage and monitor the development of their capacity for transport of goods and people.

In Conclusion, the WG Proposes an Inland Waterways Classification for South America

WG 204: Awareness Paper on Cybersecurity in Inland Navigation


Chair: Gernot Pauli

Cyberspace is understood as a complex environment where people, software and services interact, supported by information and communications technology (ICT) devices and interconnected networks, especially the internet. Cybersecurity is the protection of this environment and its elements from theft or damage (hardware, software, information), as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.

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Since the end of the last century the number and the complexity of navigational and information equipment installed on-board inland navigation vessels have increased dramatically. ICT is transforming shipping, bringing enhanced monitoring, communication and connection capabilities. One key example are the RIS, which make inland waterway transport safer and more efficient. At the same time, RIS have also reinforced the dependency on ICT and networks. This trend looks set to continue, as there are many initiatives to merge information (related to infrastructure, traffic, vessel, cargo, people, etc.) from various stakeholders (shipping companies, waterways manager, classification societies, ports and governments …), and thereby facilitating the development of new generations of intelligent transport systems, including automatic sailing inland navigation vessels.

In this context, inland navigation should be seen extensively, as a complex system in its own right, including the vessels, waterways, ports, shipping companies and cargo, linked by ICT services (such as RIS) and subject to cybersecurity risks.

WG 210: Smart Shipping on Inland Waterways

Chair: Ann-Sofie Pauwelyn (Vlaamse Wateeweg, BE); Lea Kuiters (NL)


PIANC does not ignore the innovations in the field of autonomous transportation. Autonomous driving and truck platooning are expected to reduce the costs of road transport and to increase its flexibility, while new rail corridors and the next generation of freight trains are expected to lower the technical and organizational barriers for rail freight. It is therefore of paramount importance that technologically innovative initiatives like smart shipping are in the focus of the IWT sector to improve efficiency, safety and sustainability. These improvements will also counter the potentially competitive advantage provided by technological evolutions in the other transport modes. When smart shipping is actually used, this will have an impact. Therefore, we need to establish a framework that allows the deployment of smart shipping in a safe and reliable way.

PIANC is aware that Smart developments in other transport modes have been reaching a mature status (as train and automobile). So, this WG refers the methodologies implemented in these modes and focuses on smart shipping with a specific interest on the waterborne infrastructure.

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3 The Running INCOM WGs

Here is the list of the running INCOM WGs.

WG 125 – Guidelines and Recommendations for River Information Services (RIS)

Chair: Piet Creemers, VlamseWaterweg, Belgium.


Since the last technical report of PIANC on River Information Services the development in the implementation of River Information Services has been considerably.

Since 2010 studies have been conducted on RIS enabled Corridor Management. The concept of Corridor management is recognised as the next step in the deployment of RIS.

Corridor Management is defined as information services among waterway authorities mutually and with waterway users and related logistic partners in order to optimise use of inland navigation corridors within a network of waterways”

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Enhancing inland navigation with the concept of IWT Corridor Management will lead to the benefits for inland waterborne transport in the logistic chain e.g.:

  • Reliable voyage planning to improve the operation of skippers, terminal and port operators;

  • Improved added value of Vessel Traffic Management Services in the logistic chain;

  • Simplification of the administration procedures by the usage of an intelligent information management.

The PIANC RIS guidelines are essential for the further development of River Information Services and as such the development and implementation of RIS enabled Corridor Management.

Based on these and other recent developments, the PIANC RIS guidelines are going to be updated by the Permanent Working Group 125.

WG 128 - Alternative Technical-Biological Bank Protection Methods for Inland Waterways

Chair: Bernhard Soehngen, BAW, Germany.


The objective of the InCom WG128 is to understand, evaluate and report on the effectiveness of best practice examples of innovative (alternative) bank protection measures, as related to different impact influences and boundary conditions, to fulfil the technical purposes and additionally to improve the ecological conditions.

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WG 190 – Corrosion Protection of Lock Equipment

Chair: Rebekah Wilson, USACE, USA


In today’s competitive environment, maintenance costs are a crucial and very significant part of a structure’s life cycle cost and its ability to deliver value to its owner. Corrosion, whether stress induced and/or caused by the environmental conditions, can be a major degradation factor responsible for significant maintenance costs. One of the most effective strategies to prolong the life of steel structures and equipment is thus a high performance corrosion protection system. There is currently very little research and documentation available for corrosion protection systems as they pertain to lock equipment such as gates and valves which operate in an aggressive aquatic environment and are subjected to hydro-mechanical forces. If such knowledge was easily available, it would allow facility owners and operators to make durable and sustainable decisions, from original construction of lock equipment to long term maintenance strategies that prolong the life of the assets.

WG 199 – Health Monitoring for Port and Waterway Structures

Chair: Brian Eick, Mathew Smith, USACE, USA


Structural health monitoring (SHM) principles, a damage prognosis strategy, and technology adoption can provide continuous measurements of aging infrastructure to support real-time operations, provide alerts concerning imminent failures, and provide longer-term monitoring to accurately quantify asset and component condition, including remaining service life, risk assessment, and maintenance requirements.

These strategies are built upon a foundation of sensor and inspection measurement data and utilize physical models, numerical simulations, and statistical models to provide a probabilistic measure of condition and probability of failure along with confidence estimates of this quantity. Use of such a probabilistic measure of likelihood of failure will substantially improve confidence in the risk measures used to decide upon infrastructure maintenance and capital expenditures, while also providing defensible evidence as a basis for those decisions.

The main goal of structural health monitoring of Waterway and Port structures is to provide quantified probabilistic measures of risk and reliability necessary to make operational and financial decisions concerning the functionality and safety of those structures.

WG 203 – Sustainable Inland Waterways – A Guide for Waterways Managers on Social and Environmental Impacts

Chair: Andreas Dohms, WSV, Germany.


WG203 focuses on:

  • Multifunction of Inland Waterways – Chances and Challenges for IW Managers

  • Social and Environmental Awareness of Waterborne Infrastructure Managers

This will have a first part focusing of a general concept “Social and Environmental Awareness of Waterborne Infrastructure Managers”, also called CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). The purpose is to raise the global awareness of the PIANC community, pushing to change education and mentality towards a more sustainable world.

Then, in a second part subtitled “Multifunction of Inland Waterways – Chances and Challenges for IW Managers” will give case studies showing how these concepts of “Social and Environmental Awareness” and “multifunction of IW (also called Co-Creation)” have been applied by some managers. The public authorities responsible for common welfare associated with IW infrastructure should consider the application of CSR concepts and approaches in the execution of their responsibilities.

WG 206 – Update of the Final Report of the International Commission for the Study of Locks

Chair: John Clarkson, USACE, USA


The main objective of the WG 206 is to update the PIANC 1986 Report of the International Commission for the Study of Locks. It has been over 30 years since this benchmark document was produced and much has evolved and an updated report, second version, is needed for the navigation community. The new lock design textbook (not for academic education but young professional in lock design) will be a valuable instrument to promote PIANC and the Inland Navigation industry. This publication will serve the navigation community for years and will solidly place PIANC as the preeminent inland water transport organization.

The original document was an outstanding document, 445 pages, in its time however much of it is simply outdated and now is of limited value. Many of the designs presented simply are not used as more efficient, reliable, cost effective, and environmentally friendly solutions are favored. There are multiple areas to update.

As a second volume, it is envisioned the basic outline of the book will be retained, updated with new chapters or headings for subjects that were not common at the time for such items such as sustainability. Many countries now have mature water transport infrastructure and it is becoming clear the driving force for design are new efficient rehabilitation strategies when expanding or building a lock and maintain existing traffic in an overcrowded waterway. Other strategies such as in-the-wet construction can allow for much smaller footprint since a full scale cofferdam is not needed.

WG 207 – Innovations in Shiplift Navigation Concepts

Chair: Hu Yaan, Gensheng Zhao, NHRI, China.


Since the 1990’s, shiplift technology has been developing rapidly in the world and particularly in China, UK, Germany and Belgium. Many different types of shiplifts have been built or are being designed, e.g., Strépy-Thieu shiplift in Belgium, Three Gorges shiplift and Jinghong shiplift in China, new Niederfinow shiplift in Germany, Falkirk Wheel in UK. Many advanced and innovational construction techniques and design concepts have been used in these projects.

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It was therefore required to establish a new PIANC report. It discusses the future development direction of shiplifts and give guidance on construction, management and maintenance of new and old shiplifts for the coming 20–30 years.

WG 216 – Best Practices in Planning Inland Waterways Multimodal Platforms

Chair: Philippe Rigo (Uliege, BE); Roberto Zanetti (NL).


Planning the development of ports in general, but also of inland ports, is not only a matter of infrastructures but also of intermodality, logistics and service given to costumers:

  • Logistics and intermodality are nowadays strongly linked with an efficient transport (goods and passengers). To develop the economy and a sustainable mobility of a region (city), good accessibility (transport) is a key issue. Having a river is not enough, it should be a waterway, allowing cheap, safe, reliable and just on time transportation (import and export) of goods of different types (containers, bulk, construction material, fluid, fuel,..) to the inland ports.

  • Service given to costumers: Identifying the customers’ needs is also required to identify the needed infrastructures and the relevant facilities as a multimodal platform.

To integrate the infrastructure with the various transportation modes, making a river an efficient mean of transport (an Inland Waterway) the “requested” facility is a multimodal platform. This will contribute to move from RIVERS to WATERWAYS.

This WG focuses on multi modal platform along inland waterways which have other specificities than sea ports (smaller dimensions, different equipment’s, other constraints and geographical implementation, traffic density, …and other governances).

WG 219 – Guidelines for IW Infrastructure to Facilitate Tourism

Chair: Rudy Van Der Ween, Port of Gent, BE (in Collaboration with IWI)


Recreational navigation is a growing activity, also in the managed inland waterway systems. The increase in demand for IW recreational of activities has led to development of infrastructure which should be sustainable and well-integrated with transportation systems.

A sustainable model for navigation recreation infrastructure aiming to encourage sustainable initiatives and measures in the natural spaces, where fluvial tourism activities take place, should be technically and economically feasible but also environment friendly and have to a positive social impact.

Tourism and recreation navigation have the potential to develop synergies with ecosystem restoration, natural protection, and urban waterfront redevelopment providing also social benefits and promoting cultural and historical heritage.

Management measures should not only include immediate actions such as efficient waste management and responsible use of resources (energy), but generate awareness among all actors involved in fluvial tourism activities (SMEs, managers and owners of river ports, professionals, local community, etc.).

WG 228 – Extended Values of “LOW-USE” Inland Waterways

Chair: Arjan de Heer, WitteWeenBos, NL (in collaboration with IWI)


Historically, navigable rivers and canals have been an important feature of human society through transportation, water supply, agricultural management, economic and societal benefits. With increasing population and the concomitant development of market economy many rivers have been transformed to inland waterways (IW) operated as navigation corridors by use of structures (locks, weirs,…) and the design of specific vessels to support rapid and efficient transport of bulk materials (e.g. ore, petroleum and coal). Common river training (including dredging, groins, …) was also used to maintain the navigability of the IW across a range of hydrologic conditions. The result has been a complex infrastructure and training management integrated to support navigation during all the year (as much as possible).

This navigation infrastructure requires also governing bodies (as CCNR, USACE, …) to establish parameters for its effective use such as safety and cost-effective use while protecting populations from floods and droughts. In addition, ecosystem services and recreation were often neglected in the past along waterways whereas nowadays the importance of ecological (and social) functions of waterways are emphasized and ask for special care.

Nowadays, while large inland waterways remain economically viable and continue to support substantial commercial navigation, competition from rail and truck has resulted in less commercial use of some smaller inland waterways. Concurrently, large waterways are emphasized with new effective and modern infrastructure and management improvements, and, on the contrary, we observe less incentive for investment in less economically viable inland waterways. These are the so-called “low-use inland waterways” (see definition in Sect. 2).

In many cases, decommissioning the low-use IW and their infrastructure is not feasible and not desirable, thus we need to identify new beneficial values of these inland waterways in terms other than only the commercial transport navigation. Nevertheless maintaining the use of IW by commercial vessels still remains a decisive focus as the developments in Smart Shipping and logistics might provide a strong and sustainable economically viable base.

Economic sectors such as recreational navigation (INCOM WG 219) are significant opportunities to reevaluate society’s investment in navigation infrastructure. Indeed, the economic benefits of waterborne tourism need to be considered in the economic analyses.

WG 229 – Guidelines for Sustainable Performance Indicators for Inland Waterways

Chair: Klaas Visser, TUD, NL.


This WG has as main objective to tackle “sustainable performance indicators”, with a specific target on the hazardous emissions and greenhouse gas production aspects induced by the IW navigation. PIANC is aware that performance indicators should also relate to technical performance, economic performance, maintenance performance, etc. But these are not in the scope of this WG.

In addition, IW performance depends on:

  • The characteristics the waterway (blockage coefficient of confined water, channel design, etc.)

  • The shape of the ship hull for propulsion efficiency (hydrodynamics optimization performed during early design stage of a vessel.

These are not in the scope of this WG. The WG targets alternate propulsion technology (e.g. LNG, electric, and others instead of typical fossil fuels).

WG 234 – Infrastructure for the Decarbonisation of IWT

Chair: Mark Van Koningsveld, TUD, NL


In 2020, InCom concluded that decarbonisation is of existential importance for inland navigation. Without decarbonisation, IWT will lose all its political support and will become as transport mode “non grata” for freight forwarders. Global and European societal pressure is growing to keep climate change and air pollution within acceptable limits; as illustrated by:

  • The European Green Deal” (Dec. 2019), to ensure that Europe will be the first climate-neutral continent, and making Europe a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy, as envisaged in the Commission Communication “A Clean Planet for All: A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy” (November 2018);

  • The Paris Agreement Objectives (COP21);

  • Accordingly, political and regulatory attention has been increasingly directed towards IWT, as in many cases this transport mode’s environmental and climate impact is not negligible. See for example

  • The Central Commission for Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR)’s Ministerial Mannheim declaration (October 2018) and the calls from the European Council and European Parliament to enhance the environmental track record of inland waterway transport;

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations’ Development Program (UNDP), particular SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure); SDG 13 (Climate Action) and SDG 14 (Life Below Water).

The availability of zero-emission fuels infrastructure, including onshore electric power supply, will be key to enable zero-emission vessels and increase the competitiveness of IWT as a whole, at a time when other modes of transport are reducing their ecological footprint.

WG 236 – Sustainable Management of the Navigability of Free Flow Rivers

Chair: Calvin Creech, USACE, NL

This WG concerns only free-flowing currents or rivers in their natural state, entirety or partially, in which the flow is not constrained by any hydraulic infrastructure. We shall refer to these as “natural rivers”.

Most navigable natural rivers are “large rivers”. They are alluvial rivers, with hard points (rock outcrops) in the low-flow and middle riverbed, with specific bottom morphologies. As opposed to regulated rivers, the evolutions of morphological variables (bottom slope, width, cross sections and plan view) of natural rivers makes it difficult to fix a navigation channel in a permanent alignment.

Therefore, there needs to be a change in paradigm and methodologies for navigation in natural rivers.

This WG is dedicated to the improvement of navigability natural rivers that are not intended to be regulated. The goal is finding ways to guaranty/improve navigability without conventional training structures, concrete, rock etc. inside the natural rivers.

WG237 - Bottlenecks and Best Practices of Transport of Containers on Inland Waterway

Chair: Krämer Iven,SWH Bremen, Germany


Making our economies climate neutral will lead to a decline in the volume of fossil fuels, often the most important cargo for inland navigation. In Europe, the market for coal is already shrinking and with the further electrification of road transport, the market for liquid fossil fuels will follow. Thus, inland navigation needs urgently to find other cargoes and to expand its market share in the transport of cargoes, which will stay relevant in the future.

In the Rhine region, the transport of containers is seen for inland navigation, perhaps, the most promising market segment of the future. However, road and rail are strong competitors, having often the advantage of being faster and requiring fewer transshipments of the containers. Thus, inland navigation must become more efficient, more reliable, and more customer oriented to increase its market share or just being able to defend the status quo of container transport.

In other parts of the world, in particular in China, container transport on inland waterways is growing rapidly. Thus, the challenge is less the competition with other modes of transport, rather than managing the growth.

A common feature of large scale container transport on inland waterways is its interdependence with seaports. This is not a surprise, as seaports are generally the largest hubs for container transport. In Europe, container transport on inland waterways is by far most developed in the wider Rhine region, where Europe’s busiest seaports are situated. In China the container transport on inland waterways concentrate mainly on the Pearl river and the Changjiang river. The estuaries of these rivers are home to the largest container ports in the world. In the port of Shanghai, which is the largest container port in the world, about half of the container volume is handled at terminals at the river mouth which can be accessed by inland vessels. Another half is handled at the terminals out of the river mouth (Yangshan port area), which are served by river/sea vessels. This type of transport is growing rapidly along with increased waterway dimensions of the Changjiang river.

WG241 - Handling Accidents and Calamities in Hydraulic Structures

Chair: Yves Masson, CNR, France, with Richard Daniel (NL), and Tim Paulus (USACE, USA)


While the prior objective of hydraulic structures (such as lock gates, navigation river weirs and storm surge barriers) is to remain in service, engineers must also be capable to adequately handle their failures. Despite the ongoing development of expertise, design tools, norms, and construction methods, there are still a considerable number of accidents and calamities that happen to such structures. In addition, the costs of losses as result of these so-called “upset events” are growing due to the growing complexity of waterborne infrastructure.

Accidents to hydraulic structures, like locks, navigation weirs and flood barriers, happen not only as result of strength excess. Other possible causes are, e.g., unforeseen conditions, lack of maintenance, improper operation, and navigation errors. There are often combinations and complex sequences of events that lead to disastrous results.

Various PIANC WGs have, so far, provided guidance for preventing accidents from happening, particularly the accidents resulting from strength excess. While this should remain the engineer’s main concern, there is also a demand for guidance how to effectively handle the accidents and calamities that have actually happen. This is a matter of combined effort of not only engineers. Nevertheless, engineers can and should contribute to the solutions in such cases.

WG242 -Permanent Floating Houses Along IW Banks and Infrastructure

Chair: Heiner Haass, D-Marin Consult, Germany

In many large cities (Paris, London, Amsterdam, ..) a significant ratio (%) of the inland waterway banks (and sometime also the infrastructure) are used by moored ships and floating houses as fixed and permanent residences or accommodations (for private and commercial uses). These (often old) former cargo ships often are not able to navigate anymore and have been fully been refurbished for a comfortable live (with a garden/terrace on the upper deck, large living room in the cargo holds, ..).

The floating houses are for a large part the result of a societal problem, namely the shortage of (affordable) houses, and/or a trend to live close to the nature.

The floating houses for residential or hospitality uses are connected to land with permanent gangways and water and electricity supply and sewage treatment systems.

The WG will make recommendations.

4 Conclusions

PIANC/INCOM is a key worldwide scientific and technical Association in charge of the dissemination of the knowledge in the field of inland waterways, inland navigation and inland infrastructure.


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If you have expertise in this field, contact PIANC to join an INCOM WG to share your expertise and get benefit of the PIANC network. YOU ARE WELCOME!