Canal barges are one of the most eco-friendly modes of transport and when you couple this with their energy efficiency it may be something for freight forwarding companies to consider as a mode of distribution.
While it may not be the first option for many freight forwarding companies with only 6% of the European cargo moving through this route it could be a real opportunity that’s being missed by most.
Within Europe we have approximately 40000 kilometres of inland rivers and canals that could potentially be used by freight forwarding companies giving us the option to move more freight easily while reducing the global carbon footprint at the same time and this new mode could potentially provide more job opportunities within our sector.
Approximately 500 million tonnes of goods are being distributed by freight forwarding companies along the canals and rivers of Europe on an annual basis and this equates to around 25 million truck loads so its already something that’s up and running but could still improve.
Infrastructure is a key issues for this method in the means of bridges, fairways, incorrectly proportioned locks and missing parts of a potential network and fixing these would open up new opportunities for all freight forwarding companies.
Freight forwarding companies in France have been monitoring the proposed link of the Seine-Nord Europe canal but this multi billion euro project could already be in danger of collapsing with many setbacks and no guarantee of investment from the private sector. The plan was to construct a 106kms / 54 meter wide canal to link both the Seine and Schldt rivers by the end of 2019 and is still supported by the government but may have to postpone the work.
While freight forwarding companies strive to reduce the carbon footprint and find new or alternative means of moving goods around to help reduce emissions and cost this mode of transport may not be able to grow as much as the industry may like or need.