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SWP2.1 | Support for European IWT innovation


Inland waterway transport is traditionally the most environmentally friendly mode of transport, given its low external costs and low specific fuel consumption. This position is however increasingly being contested by other transport modes. New technologies in shipbuilding and ship machinery can be used to optimise the environmental and economic performance of IWT. Necessary fleet innovations are however hampered by the atomised structure of the sector and the limited availability of investment capital. Therefore, additional incentives are required to support the modernisation of the European inland fleet.


The objective of this Sub-Work Package is to give entrepreneurs advice on how to implement innovative technology and services by:

  • speeding up market transfer of innovative fleet and logistics concepts and provide incubation assistance;
  • providing a business advisory link between the work of the IWT innovation expert group results and the market cluster activities;
  • supporting the removal of barriers to enable viable, competitive and sustainable businesses.

Description of work

PLATINA provides technical support for the establishment of European innovation support instruments. In case new support instruments are being created, PLATINA assists in their promotion and dissemination, to ensure that available funds are actually being used by the IWT sector.

On the basis of the list of promising innovations in the field of IWT (based on the IWT innovation database created in SWP2.2), PLATINA brings relevant private and public partners together and organise dialogues on concrete projects. This activity assists in accelerated market uptake and trigger the initiation or clustering of new projects.

The Directive 2006/87/EC on technical requirements for inland waterway vessels was published on 30 December 2006. Amendments were published in 2008. In addition to the publications in the Official Journal of the European Union, it is desirable to create a practical booklet containing the integrated text of the directive in four different languages. The PLATINA network takes over the pre-print activities.

Achievements January-May 2011

According to the Technical Annex, this task consists of backing up technology transfer and advising entrepreneurs on technology implementation in the process of speeding up technology transfer. The aim is to assist in creating an efficient instrument to support innovation development in the IWT world. To do so, it has been decided to back the development of the PLATINA Innovation Database and the Strategic Research Agenda, two activities from SWP2.2.

Sub-Work Package leader biography

Catherine Leleu (Europe and New Products Division Manager) holds a degree in English and German from the University of Lille III (France), a master's degree in marketing and e-business from the ESC Lille Business School (France), export and a sales management certificate from the EDHEC Lille Business School (France). At VNF she is responsible for cooperation with the European Union for the promotion and development of inland waterways transportation and the implementation of River Information Services (fairway and traffic information, cargo and fleet management, value added services).


3 questions to Catherine Leleu

  • What do you like most about your work?
    - To share human experiences with people from all over Europe and to understand the stakes their institutions are facing in their respective countries.
    - To take up the challenge of the development of Inland Waterway Transport, a challenge combining sustainable development as well as business growth.
    - The diversity of subjects covered by PLATINA (training, infrastructures, markets…) makes the work very interesting and never boring.
  • If you could have one wish for inland navigation, what would it be?
    That the assets of the Inland Waterway Transport become more recognized and used to the maximum of their capacities.
  • What does PLATINA do for you?
    - Creates more interactions among VNF.
    - Helps us to assess our problems at a European scale, it gives VNF more visibility of the European environment and we hope that by the end of the project PLATINA will reinforce our means of action.
    - Strengthen our relations with our European partners.