Traditionally, SWZ|Maritime’s April issue is a special about new developments in inland shipping. This year, the focus is on the river cruise industry that was booming until the corona crisis took hold. We also look at some of the steps taken in ship design to get to zero-emission inland navigation ships.
We usually focus on inland navigation in April as trade fair Maritime Industry takes place at the beginning of May, but also because inland shipping is an important mode of transport that deserves our attention. Yet, due to the corona crisis, the trade fair, like so many other events, had to be postponed. Still, we decided to go forward with this special.
And although this crisis also influences our work, the editorial staff of SWZ|Maritime has a strong drive to continue telling and spreading the interesting stories about important developments in the maritime industry. Some articles could not be completed in time because of the crisis, but with the inspiring help of member of our editorial staff Martin van Dijk, former international secretary of Koninklijke Schuttevaer, we succeeded again in compiling enough interesting stories about the latest developments in inland shipping.
Stories that have to be told as, apart from the insiders, far too few people know and understand the importance of this sector.
Ever more international tourists from as far away as Australia and New Zealand land at Amsterdam-Schiphol airport to board an inland river cruise ship to sail across Europe with a large chance that the ship was designed and built by Dutch yards. Therefore, this issue pays special attention to this part of the industry and the important role Dutch companies play in it.
For the overall of inland shipping, 2019 was an excellent year after the long period of low water levels in the big European rivers in the year before. In its last market insight, the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine noted a strong upturn of the market for transport of goods by inland barges. The low water levels have also resulted in an increasing interest in ships with less draught.
Towards zero-emission ships
The discussion about propulsion in inland navigation is still ongoing. For several years, LNG seemed to be the solution to reduce the emission of polluting gases, but with the focus on also reducing CO2 emissions, the first steps are made towards building zero-emission ships. In this issue of SWZ|Maritime, you can read for example what the next steps are after the diesel-electric hybrid Sendo Liner was launched last year.