Essential Fact of the Month: Inland Waterways
Inland waterways are widely used for the movement of freight on the Continent via a well developed network of rivers and canals.
Irish exporters access the Continental inland waterway network by using Ro-Ro ferries or short sea operators to the Continent, and then transhipment onto inland waterway.
Many short sea containers move on the Continent by inland waterway. There are scheduled services between Rotterdam (Netherlands) using the River Rhine as the link to the industrial heartland of Germany. Containers are shipped from Ireland to Rotterdam, and are then transhipped onto smaller vessels which carry them down the Rhine. This method of transport is suitable for a wide range of manufactured goods although it is unlikely to be as rapid as direct trailer movement.
Advantages of inland waterways
(a) Environmental benefits
(b) avoidance of congested road and the driving restrictions;
(c) economical when measured against the alternatives of road and rail.
Disadvantages of inland waterways
(a) Generally slightly slower than direct road transport;
(b) the other disadvantages of inland waterways are the same as those that apply to container movement.