TransportIn light of continuing transport growth within the European Union, there is a need to use the free capacity offered by Inland Waterway Transport (IWT).

Although the inland waterways offer a congestion-free network, the ease, safety and efficiency of it is sensitive to hydrological impacts from the short-term up to the climate time scale. Accurate forecasts are needed over a range of time scales:

  • Short- to medium-term forecasts of discharges/water levels to optimise the load capacity of the vessels as well as to timely take into account that waterways might be blocked due to floods.
  • Monthly to seasonal forecasts for the medium- to long-term planning and enhancement of the water bound logistic chain.
  • Climate projections for the optimal future fleet planning of shipping companies as well as for infrastructural waterway management.

The non-waterbound transportation network (roads, railways) is also vulnerable to hydrological extremes, primarily to floods. Reliable forecasts are required to optimise emergency planning, preparedness programmes as well as to guide transport via alternative routes/transport modes. For the long-term planning of flood protection measures, climate projections about the possible future evolution of extremes are needed.

In this sectoral survey, we will evaluate how improved hydro-meteorological forecast products increase the operating efficiency and strategic management of the European transportation sector. A special focus is given to Inland Waterway Transport. The users, representing different parties involved in the transport chain, will be closely involved from the very beginning.

The target areas chosen as case studies (Rhine, Danube and Elbe Rivers) are part of the backbone of Europe’s waterway and non-waterbound network. Therefore, improvements demonstrated will have a direct economic relevance for the transportation sector. In addition, these river basins represent different runoff regimes and climate characteristics, facilitating the transfer of results.

Partners: BfG, HZG