Smart Track 4 Waterway

Project Summary

ST4W proposes a management solution for shipment by inland waterway transport, providing to small stakeholders a simpler and cheaper access to secure data, and enabling them to share a hierarchical track & trace service of shipment at logistics unit level : what pallet in what vessel ?

ST4W solution will provide an end to end seamless visibility to supply chain stakeholders :

  • Automatic update of logistics unit status (pallet, container …)
  • Real-time update of ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) of each logistics unit, throughout the multimodal supply chain
  • Automatic alert in the case of delay or loading the wrong logistics unit
  • Electronic proof of delivery at each step:

This cloud-oriented platform is based on GS1 standards, where everyone is master of his own data and shares it only with chosen partners

A sustainable and closer cooperation between waterway actors and their supply chain partners will enable more clients to make use of waterway transportation (from mental shift to modal shift), and consequently to reduce CO2 emissions of their logistics operations.


Main advantages of Inland Waterway Transportation (IWT):

IWT predominantly used by large companies for bulk & big volumes:

  • Used to a small extend by SMEs
  • Used to a very small extend for palletized freight


Palletized freight is generally carried in small volumes directly from point A to point B


Modal shift from road to waterway needs:

  • additional transhipment operations
  • bundling of several small volumes
  • more complex logistics engineering
  • more administrative burden

ST4W proposes an unified data exchange platform …

  •  fed with hierarchical tracking data at logistics unit level (pallet, container)
  • proposing transversal services:
    • real time update of cargo Estimated Time of Arrival
    • electronic proof of delivery

... tackling modal shift brakes

  •  seamless synchronisation between logistics and IWT actors
  •  end-to-end follow-up of shipment:
    • in multimodal environment
    • with reduced administrative burden

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Multitel 2 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie
Name Contact Name Email Country
CRITT T&L Claire Bouvier France
Logistics in Wallonia Bernard Piette Belgium
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven Tom Van Woensel Netherlands
Stichting Bureau Telematica Binnenvaart Henk van Laar Netherlands
Institut du droit international des transports Ludovic Couturier France
Stichting Projecten Binnenvaart Khalid Tachi Netherlands
Port Autonome du Centre et de l'Ouest Catherine Maheux Belgium
Port de Bruxelles - Haven van Brussel Désirée Simonetti Belgium
Universität Duisburg-Essen (UDE) Bernd Noche Germany
Blue Line Logistics nv Antoon Van Coillie Belgium
Inlecom System Ltd Yash Chadha United Kingdom


Multimodal urban logistics

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Inland waterway transport is an excellent way to bring goods into dense urban areas with minimal environmental impact and nuisance. However, this multimodal transport requires efficient logistics to organize all the operations for the timely delivery of goods. The French ST4W pilot aims at better connecting inland waterway transport with multimodal city logistics; firstly, digitally, thanks to ST4W tools, and, secondly, physically, thanks to an innovative FlexiMalle concept designed by SOGESTRAN. Fleximalle is a light and hard-wearing multimodal container complying with handling industry standards. Fleximalle is tracked from end to end along the multimodal journey thanks to the ST4W hierarchical tracking system. In the end of February 2021, Fleximalle’s inaugural journey delivered wooden construction elements from the Cuiller manufacturer's factory in Petit-Couronne near Rouen to the destination site at Noisy-le-Grand (east of Paris region). The highlight of this multimodal journey was the transshipment operation at Paris Terminal; from the Bosphore (container liner) to the Zulu (small barge dedicated to urban transport). Photographs are better than a long speech to show the efficient sequence of these operations. Read More

New FlexiMalle concept

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New FlexiMalle concept designed by SOGESTRAN Group teams. It allows to carry frames made of beechwood from Normandy. The vehicle, dedicated to multimodal transport, is light and hard-wearing. Inland waterway transport reinforces Normandy's wood industry in the field of construction, where frames are generally imported. The community of the ports of the Seine Axis (Seine Port Union) made this possible. This project was supported by François Philizot, interdepartmental delegate for the development of the Seine Valley, with the help of CPIER. So the Île-de-France is easier to reach and ongoing building sites can be supplied. Read More

ST4W in Kalkar Fair

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The ‘Shipping, Technics, Logistics’ trade fair in Kalkar, Germany took place with fewer visitors than normal, due to the huge effects and impacts from the ongoing corona pandemic. The trade fair in Kalkar is the only fair for inland shipping in Germany. Mr. Hendrik Schulte, state secretary in the ministry of transport of North Rhine-Westphalia, officially opened the fair on September 29th at 11 am. The main topics in Kalkar fair this year were shipyards, freight, passenger shipping, ports and installation technology with focus on the environment and skills shortage topics like previous years. Beside the exhibiting companies some accompanying programs with different speakers was also offered to visitors. On Wednesday 29th September, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Noche from the University of Duisburg-Essen presented the SmartTrack4Waterway project to the audience and answered all the questions. He ended the presentation by stressing the importance to find pilot companies in Germany. Interested groups are welcome to attend an interview. Read More

Great River Cities’ COVID response

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Inlecom and ST4W were present at the Great River Cities and Covid-19, Responses, Resilience and Re-Imagination event organised by the Port of London Authority hosted by Prof. Greg Clark CBE, who shared fresh insights assembled from other river cities around the world, their responses to the pandemic and the trends underlying them. Inlecom participated in the discussion and posed the question to the panel asking “what initiatives are in place to encourage the use of inland waterways for the movement of freight? Bulks is often transported but there is a gap for transporting palletised goods to inner cities taking freight off road and on to water. The panelist saw the opportunities for last mile delivery accompanies by electric bikes. Read More

Promising test by Knauf and Shipit

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Bulk construction materials are often transported by waterway, but this is less common for pallets. Shipit is the owner of MS Oorderdam, a large vessel (up to 1 700 tons payload), capable of loading pallets thanks to its on-board crane. In collaboration with his client Knauf, they successfully tested the identification tools deployed as part of the ST4W project, paving the way for end-to-end visibility on the logistics chain. So, on 9th March 2020, MS Oorderdam carried 1,200 pallets of “MP 75” plaster bags from the Knauf factory in Engis (near Liège in Belgium) to the Shipit warehouse located in the port of Brussels. By avoiding the journey of 50 trucks, this promising performance shows that the congestion of dense urban areas can be solved. Read More

Modal shift of construction material

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Last Wednesday 12th of February 2020, the Pallet Shuttle Barge ZULU carried 196 pallets of construction materials from ROOSENS BETON (Seneffe) to GOBERT MATERIAUX (Anderlecht), for a total weight of 300 tons, the equivalent of 10 trucks. This modal transfer not only saved 3 tons of CO2, but it also saved time during loading and unloading operations. Johnny Zschau (Roosens Beton) specifies: "the loading and unloading time was 100 tons per hour". A promising performance tackling bottleneck issues and rush hour queues at warehouse and store docks of involved partners. The identification tools deployed as part of the ST4W project have been successfully tested. This data exchange will enable a closer cooperation between waterway actors and their supply chain partners. Read More


Mid-term event

, Hôtel Sofitel L'Échiquier Opéra Paris

On 13 June 2019, the mid-term event of SmartTrack4Waterway took place in Paris. The topic of the day was: modal shift to waterway fostered by hierarchical tracking. This event brought together 43 people. We were happy to talk with you about the challenge of modal shift to waterway. In particular, we presented the first demonstration of the hierarchical tracking solution developed by the project. A special thank you to all the speakers: Lorenzo Bassani, Nicolas Bour, Claire Dantec, Yves de Blic, Kevin Janin, Perrine Lavelle, Didier Léandri, Vincent Morel, Nicolas Pauvre, Franck Rousseau and Jérôme Wernert.
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