How can new and innovative ideas improve the future prospects for inland shipping? An Innovation Challenge on this topic is the next step in the successful EU project #IWTS 2.0. The event organised by bremenports and the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany (MCN) simultaneously marked the start of two new online seminars that will be held for trainees, students and interns this autumn.
The Innovation Challenge prompted two groups of students from Bremen University to step up onto the virtual stage. Six future industrial engineers presented their ideas for more innovation in inland shipping to around 70 participants. The topics ranged from the use of anticipatory logistics on rivers and waterways right through to suggestions for barge-assisted urban logistics. In anticipatory logistics, inventory management and shipments are organised on the basis of intelligent forecasts. In this case, the students adapted the model used by US American online trading platform Amazon to match the requirements of the inland shipping business. They presented practical examples, for instance from Utrecht and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, to show how barge transports could be integrated into urban logistics. This idea could lead to interesting prospects for deliveries to end consumers who are located close to the River Weser in Bremen, a city with a more than 40-kilometre long shoreline. In order to improve sustainability and encourage intermodality, the students’ model envisages cycle couriers to transport the shipments from microhubs, which are supplied from barges.
In his opening address at the event, Professor Kurt Bodewig, European Coordinator of the “Motorways of the Seas” and former German Minister of Transport, stressed the importance of improving intermodality between the different transport modes. “Increased transparency resulting from the digitisation of data streams could promote the scope for better interconnection of waterways, rail and road,” said Bodewig. “The EU has created the appropriate political framework with the EU Green Deal.”
The event was part of the Interreg-sponsored project #IWTS 2.0, which aims to raise the logistics industry’s awareness of inland shipping as a powerful transport mode. bremenports is focussing particularly on the next generation of logistics specialists and has placed inland shipping on the curriculum for university seminars. Students were asked to conduct their own analysis of the different transport modes – openly, from their own perspective and with their own ideas. The seminar contents were based on the web-platform project iwts20.eu, which was created in the course of the project and is also the result of student commitment. The next event in the series, a “TransportLab” for inland shipping, will take place on 3 December 2020. Trainees and students will be invited to get to know the different transport modes on the basis of case studies, which will be compiled by bremenports and MCN in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. This will be followed by a practical seminar on 12 January 2021 which will show successful examples of a modal shift to barge transport which were achieved as part of the #IWTS 2.0 project. All events are free of charge and can be booked on the MCN website.