Comparison between different modes of transport

Spare capacity:
For the most part, road and rail are being used to full capacity, in some cases the capacity limit has been exceeded. Inland waterways still have the potential to carry large quantities of goods traffic and would have no difficulty in dealing with increased traffic.¹

Lowest energy consumption:
The inland waterway vessel is the most environmentally friendly mode of transport and it conserves the most resources. When transporting goods in bulk, an inland waterway vessel consumes 67% less energy than a heavy goods vehicle and 35% less than a train.¹

Lowest carbon emissions rates:
The inland waterway vessel is the winner in this category too. A heavy goods vehicle emits 164 grams of carbon dioxide per tonne-kilometre and a train 48.1 grams, whereas an inland waterway vessel only emits 33.4 grams.²

Production of sustainable energy:
The ten power plants on the German Moselle alone have a combined output of about 180,000 kilowatts, which enables them to supply some 265,000 households with environmentally friendly energy.

Comparison of negative externalities:
The negative externalities (costs related to greenhouses gases, airborne pollutants, accidents and noise) are no more than 0.36 cents per tonne-kilometre in the case of an inland waterway vessel transporting containers (comparative costs: 1.65 cents for an HGV and 1.11 cents for a train).¹

Inland waterways have set themselves an ambitious goal for the future: that of reducing emissions, and thus negative externalities, even further.

¹) Source: the Planco Survey "An economic and ecological comparison of the transport modes: road, rail and inland waterways”

²) Source: "Die Mosel: Wasserstraße-Lebensraum-Energie" (“The Moselle: a waterway, habitat and source of energy”) by the Federal Waterways and Shipping Authority

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