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Trailer on Barge

The VIL project ‘Trailer on Barge Shuttle’ aims to provide an innovative alternative in congestion sensitive areas in Flanders by shuttling empty and/or loaded trailers by barge over relatively short distances by means of a ro-ro (roll on – roll off) concept.

The transport sector today is being confronted with a rising transport demand. Meeting this demand is a difficult task due to multiple factors: driver shortage, increasing congestion on our roads which raises the amount of hours lost in traffic and the total amount of time it takes to complete a transport order. In other words, on the suppliers side it is necessary to make optimal use of the current transport capacity.


More often inland shipping is seen as an alternative transport mode, because there is still capacity available. There are already efficient solutions being offered for bulk and import / export containers, but for piece goods it is more difficult. Currently this cargo is usually transported by trailer. To realize this via barge, overloading is necessary, which equals extra handling and costs (infrastructure, material and qualified staff). Next to this, it also means a big number of pointless kilometers over the road such as repositioning empty trailers, that also cause traffic jams.


The goal is to develop a simple and low-threshold concept with expansion possibilities. The aim is to “look to inland shipping in a different way” and to emphasize the synergy between road transport and inland shipping.

The axis between cities such as Genk – Hasselt – Antwerp – Brussels – Ghent show potential so far, in respect to the current congestion problems on one hand and the availability of class V and VI waterways on the other hand. Extra shuttle services within service ports can also provide an interesting alternative.


Making an inventory of existing systems in other countries (including The Netherlands and Germany)

Listing the different opportunities and making an inventory of the necessary material and infrastructure

Needs analysis of the participants

Determining the different steps in the process and pre-determine the possible obstacles/problems and work out the necessary action plans

Selecting and working out company cases for two connections with potential (regarding the logistical aspect, practical implementation, etc.)

Setting up a pilot trip for one of these routes, to test the concept in practice

Date:1 Feb 2019  →  31 Jul 2020
Keywords:Trailer, Ro Ro, Inland Shipping
Disciplines:Transport economics
Project type:Collaboration project