How to enable corridor planning for both
automated and conventional barges?
When a vessel starts or changes its voyage, it has to report its voyage, vessel and cargo information. During the trip, he will come across different obstacles such as locks and drawbridges for which he will contact the local authority to request a passage.
The current procedures are request-based and the FCFS-principle (first come, first served) is applied to every obstacle, but there is the vision and dream to make this planning-driven. (more information about typical obstacles can be found below)
The inland waterway network reaches wide and far in the hinterland, which creates a dense network where corridors can be identified. A corridor is a waterway highway that is a typical trajectory between two important cargo hubs.
The big question is now, how can a planning-driven system (on corridor or network level) be accepted to ensure optimal navigation of both automated and conventional barges, but further also include the smaller waterways and reach the far hinterland?
It was a dream of many inland waterway players to enable this. The reasons for this can be found as well on the barge side as on the authority side.
On the barge side, the tracking of the barge including Required Time of Arrival, will make sure it is able to adapt its speed, which eventually will lead to a reduction in fuel consumption. An enormous important cost for the barge operators.
On the authority side, the advantages are twofold. First, a clear schedule will make sure that congestions are avoided, for example on busy locks located in the ports. Further, it can contribute to the solution of the Green Deal.
A relevant example can be found below to make the situation more tangible.
A barge leaves from the Port of Antwerp and wants to reach Paris. Two possible routes can be identified, using first the Leie (Gent – Waregem – Kortrijk) or the Schelde (Gent – Oudenaarde). There are multiple factors that impact an “optimal route”, which are:
How does the planning procedure needs to be designed to optimize the cargo flows in Flanders? Multiple follow-up questions can immediately be enlisted: