Future of sustainable transport by water: innovation-driven

What does the future of sustainable transport by water look like? On Friday 14 September, Regional Minister Rik Janssen opened the seminar on this subject. The Waterbus organised this seminar and invited various partners to discuss a more sustainable transport by water.

The Province of Zuid-Holland, with its main port Rotterdam within its borders, may call itself the centre of transport by water in The Netherlands. The number of shipping movements is immense, as is the quantity of transported goods. The many waterways offer good opportunities for passenger transport by water. The ferry services are of great value to the accessibility and form an indispensable link in our transport chain. The Waterbus that connects the Drecht cities with Rotterdam has grown into a most valued and well-used means of transport in the past few years.

The busy shipping traffic in Zuid-Holland unburdens the road network and makes an important contribution to the accessibility and the economy. On the other hand, the vessels use internal combustion engines.  Many vessels, unfortunately, contribute heavily to the emission of harmful and climate-influencing substances. During the seminar, the importance of terminating and the way in which to terminate the emission of these substances were discussed. That is the only way to prevent that cities become uninhabitable because of air pollution, and that climate changes lead to serious problems.  The sustainabilization of mobility cannot be avoided. Shipping has to make its contribution there as well.

Waterbus tendering process: innovation-driven

The current agreement with the Waterbus for the passenger transport by water in the Rotterdam-Drecht cities region ends on New Year's Eve 2021. The preparations for the tendering process of a new contract for the period after 2021 are in full swing. We collaborate with the other parties involved in the Waterbus network: the region of Drecht cities, the municipalities of Dordrecht and Rotterdam, the Metropole region Rotterdam The Hague and the Port of Rotterdam. The Province, the Municipality of Dordrecht and the Drecht cities will arrange the transport to the east of Rotterdam, the Municipality of Rotterdam and MRDH the transport to the west.  Collaboration comes first, the principle being that the customer is not to be inconvenienced by the differences in commissioning.

The current Waterbus system is characterized by good punctuality, service, and comfort. The customers also value the possibility to take the bicycle along. It is important to maintain the good during the new contract period, and preferably to improve on it even more, among other things with innovations envisaged by the tenderers. Now, the appeal to the transporters is to see how the transport could be improved even more, with more satisfied customers and a higher cost recovery level.

Emission-free rolling stock is an important element in the new contract period. Various new techniques are being developed, such as hydrogen or battery powertrains. Various parties are working hard to make these ready for practical use. These developments are in full swing so that the necessary innovative concepts can be expected during the coming years. The technique is expected to develop to such an extent, that by 2022 it will be possible to deploy emission-free vessels on our Waterbus network. Which techniques and innovations will be used, is up to the transporters and developers.