Inland water transport is a mode of land transport by inland waterway (canals, inland waterways, rivers...) allowing the transport of goods (freight transport by masterly network with STF transport for example) or passengers (by regional network, such as CroisiEurope which offers coastal river and sea cruises and Voguéo and its boat-bus river turtle project). It generally requires several actors for pre-routing and post-routing.
France has the longest network of waterways in Europe. River transport had been left to the other side, but it is coming back to the forefront thanks to the ecological and solidarity transition project. It is economical, reliable, clean and safe. It is a real alternative to road and rail transport. Inland waterway transport allows for reliable scheduling of delivery times.
This mode of transport may be used in the case of international multimodal transport. It is an integral part of an import-export process in international trade. Transport companies and freight forwarders orchestrate the various stages of freight transport.
The transported goods can be in bulk or on pallets, but also in containers FCL or LCL. Inland waterway transport also makes it possible to transport heavy cargoes, exceptional convoys, dangerous goods, oversized products, waste, construction materials... The barge will not transport refrigerated products.
River ports are connected to sea ports. In the case of maritime transport, a ship belonging to a shipping company may enter a river to deposit the goods (initially maritime freight) on a port terminal where a barge will collect them at a later stage to continue its journey.
As with any maritime transport, any goods moving by river freight must always be carried with their transport documents.
Voies Navigables de France (VNF French Waterways) operates as an associate member of the Association Française des Ports Intérieurs (AFPI French association of Internal ports), which gathers 20 inland ports in France.
In terms of European transport, the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR) includes France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Inland waterway transport in Belgium is also part of the European inland waterway network
It is in the north of Italy that the country's main waterway is located: the Pô.
Inland waterway transport does not fall into the category of express freight. Express transport is reserved for air transport.
It is the cheapest mode of transport, the price of transport is half as low as road and rail transport.
A job in inland waterway transport is accessible with a Youth training inland waterway transport.