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SWP4.3 | Establishment and support of IWT lead events


Few regular IWT conferences are held at a European-wide level, whereas in other transport sectors such as rail and air common events have been established (e.g. Rail-Tech). Each conference is organised more or less from scratch and therefore entails an inefficient use of resources. As a result, the organisation of larger European IWT events has proven complex, time-consuming and costly. They are therefore rare or reduced in their scope and geographical coverage. Consequently, the visibility and recognisability at the European level remains low.


The objective of this Sub-Work Package is to set up a leading, recurrent and recognisable IWT event at a European-wide level every two years. A trademark conference shall be established that is capable of attracting a broad audience of potential IWT customers, politicians, logistics service providers and the IWT sector.

Description of work

PLATINA elaborates a concept for an IWT lead conference or event through the definition of conference aim and target groups (e.g. shippers, logistics service providers, IWT sector, political decision makers). The size, shape and contents of the conference are defined.

Regional events in the field of IWT take place on a regular basis. Depending on their orientation and dimension they gather key stakeholders from the inland navigation and other transport sectors as well as decision makers in the fields of, e.g., logistics, industry, R&D, policy and administration. PLATINA wants to provide support for these regional conferences since they play an important role in pooling the sector.

Achievements January-May 2011

The Barge to Business event took place on 1 November and 30 December 2010 at the Square conference centre in Brussels. The programme included the following main key note speeches by Siim Kallas, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport and Etienne Schouppe, State Secretary for Mobility and a Panel with Members of the European Parliament: Inland waterway transport and the EU 2020 Strategy.

The information market presented business oriented and practical presentations and debates that will facilitate the integration of inland waterways specialised services, new technologies, innovative solutions and learning by example into European supply chain management. The emphasis is on testimonials, sharing of experiences and workable solutions.

More than 600 delegates from 22 countries attended the conference. Delegates include executive managers, logistics managers, inland navigation experts, government policy makers and waterway service providers.

The conference was fully booked. Registrations closed two weeks for the start of the event. During the Barge to Business networking event conference participants, policymakers, politicians and senior civil servants met each other in a relaxing atmosphere. It was an excellent opportunity to establish interesting contacts and to discuss the issues that have been raised at the conference.

Sub-Work Package leader biography

Hilde Bollen (Coordinator) has a master's degree in law and in Maritime sciences. She has extensive experience in setting up a communication strategy and public actor management as well as in the preparation of government’s policy measures. Hilde is a member of the drafting group for the NAIADES action programme. She is a native speaker of Dutch, is fluent in English and French and has a good command of German. Hilde is a member of seaport commission and airport commission of Flanders Social and Economic Council, as well as of the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Antwerpen – Waasland.

3 questions to Hilde Bollen

  • What do you like most about your work?
    The diversity of tasks and contacts. I don’t have the time to get bored. There is always something to do. Our small team has a lot of freedom for the development of new ideas and concepts and to implement them in the field. The achieved results are appreciated.
  • If you could have one wish for inland navigation, what would it be?
    In the short term, the implementation of the NAIADES actions. Bottlenecks are listed, problems have been analyzed, solutions have been formulated and a plan has been made. Now it time for action by all stakeholders involved in this to assure inland navigation of a prosperous future.
  • What does PLATINA do for you?
    The results of the reputation analysis are highly welcomed by my organization. As promotion office, we know that a united voice makes the message louder, clearer and better understood. Platina provides a platform for 11 organizations Europe-wide to harmonize their communication strategies and to coordinate their communication actions and messages. We have great team. It is a pleasure to work with highly professional people who share the same goal.