For inland waterway transport to be cost-effective, experts usually agree that several criteria have to be met. You need a long distance, in order to be competitive with road transport, you need large quantities, and you need high added value goods, for the additional cost of transhipment to be covered by the total cost of the goods. This is the usual preconceptions about inland waterway transport. And the Port of Utrecht intends to prove them all wrong.
Indeed, on a distance of 45 km only, very low added-value goods, i.e. waste, will be shipped from Utrecht to Amsterdam, in order to be incinerated. The Port of Utrecht will make use of small push barges (500 t) that will remain ashore for 2 days before travelling to Amsterdam. Based on the first calculations, this fairly simple process, the cost-effectiveness of which contradicts all three basic principles of IWT, will save about 100.000 litres of petrol yearly and more than 300.000 km of road transport.
The process can be cost-effective because both the loading point and the destination are located along the waterway and will soon have their own transhipment platform and because of the use of push barges, which allows to temporarily store the waste directly in the barge, thereby avoiding a double transhipment from truck to the quay and then into the barge. Within CCP21, the Port of Utrecht will develop the storage area, which will be covered with a view to store the perishable household waste.