Inland shipping is the transport of goods on a network of streams, rivers and canals in Belgium. The ships don’t navigate the ocean. The Belgian network is connected with inland shipping countries such as The Netherlands, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria.
Ship-owner: The owner of the ship
Charterer: Charters/rents a coaster for the transport of a certain load between a loading and unloading point.
Forwarder: organizes door-to-door transport using inland shipping and completes the chain with pre and post transport via road, rail or shortsea shipping.
Logistics service provider: expands the tasks of the forwarder with services such as storage.
Goods handlers: could be inland terminals as well as terminals that load and unload coasters in the port.
Inland shipping entrepreneur: navigates the coaster from loading to unloading point. He or she can work independently or for a shipping company.
Inland Shipping can provide important benefits in terms of reducing logistics costs. To encourage as many Flemish companies as possible to start using the waterway network, the Flemish government built 100 quays and container terminals between 1998 and 2016, through public-private collaboration.
Flanders now has an extended waterway network of more than 1,300 km and has 4 important sea ports.
Quay wall programme
Quay walls are entrance points for accessing the waterways. Without a quay wall, goods can’t be transported via the waterways. To enhance the transport of inland shipping, the Flemish government has carried out a policy since 1998 of stimulating the construction of quay walls.
The Quay wall programme is an example of public-private collaboration. The Flemish government paid between 60% and 80% of the building costs for infrastructure, access points, etc. The company pays 20% of the building costs and provides equipment and facilities such as cranes and transfer space. The companies have to guarantee that there will be a pre-agreed tonnage of goods transported via the waterways for ten years.
This Quay wall programme has now been terminated and a new quay wall programme is in preparation.