On tour on the inland waterways

Project LogisticsOn tour on the inland waterways

Jürgen Wittmann
Jürgen WittmannOffice Manager
Florian Straßer
Florian StraßerHead of Business Development Regensburg

The project specialists of Karl Gross create logistics solutions by inland water vessel

Oversized! When shipping project cargo, a precise logistics concept is a must have. The planning of pre and on-carriages in Germany is becoming more and more complex e.g. due to an increasing number of construction sites on the highways. That causes detours. On top, decrepit highway bridges and long waiting periods for transport permissions necessitate a rethinking. And there are alternatives: water instead of asphalt. Our project-team in Regensburg is specialized on organizing transport solutions for oversized and overweight cargo via inland water vessel.

Transports by barge may offer advantages.

Europe has a vast net of inland waterways. The Main-Danube canal provides an excellent connection e.g. for the region of South Germany. There are connections to international ports like Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Antwerp in the West, Hamburg and Bremerhaven in the North as well as e.g. Konstanza at the Black Sea. Furthermore: “Pre and on-carriages via inland water vessel may offer advantages – especially when shipping project cargo”, Jürgen Wittmann says. He is the manager of our office in Regensburg. “And it is not only the price that makes project cargo transports via inland water vessels attractive.”

High transport capacities

Inland water vessels are spacious compared to trucks. As they have high transport capacities, additional modes of transportation for ‘accompanying cargo’ like assembly material are not necessary. “Costs are saved”, Jürgen Wittmann says. More lots can be shipped at once – this may eliminate the need of separating shipment, into several part lots. “That is why pre and on-carriages by inland water vessel may be a suitable opportunity when shipping project cargo like industrial plants i.e.. Often times there are giant freight pieces that need to be moved, and a road transport is not permitted because of the dimensions. Another point is that some cost components of road transports are difficult to plan in advance. Take for example traffic control measures: traffic situations suddenly may change – the result may be the need for new or other traffic control measures”, Jürgen Wittmann says.

No waiting periods for permissions

When shipping cargo by barge, there is no need for transport permissions. “When moving project cargo on the road, long waiting periods for permissions for special transports may accrue – it can take up to six to eight weeks before getting a permission. Sometimes waiting periods are even up to twelve weeks. That may cause problems, especially when shippers are bound by delivery times. This is often the case when shipping machinery and plants”, our project-specialist says. “It is for sure that transports via inland water vessel are not as fast as transports on road, regarding the duration of pur transportation only. But due to the above outlined trend, the time advantage of road transports decreases more and more.” And: due to the numerous road construction works, permissions for road transports may not be granted at all.

“Transport permissions also are a topic when moving oversized and overweight goods by barge – freight needs to be forwarded to the next inland port – but shorter transport routes often are less problematic”, Florian Straßer from our business development in Regensburg says.

Shipping “24/7”

Compared to transports by truck, there are no pre-set timeframes for transports by inner water vessel, i.e. the prohibition to forward project cargo during the day. “In this respect, inland waterways are flexible. Nevertheless, when planning inland transportation by inner water vessel, we need to have an eye on the water level”, our project-specialist explains.

 

There are no pre-set timeframes for transports by inland water vessels.

In the flow

Compared to road traffic, transports traffic on inner waterway flows. There are no obstructions of traffic. Trucks forwarding project cargo often times cannot pass construction sites – lanes often are too small and the site-limits are made of cement. “Sometimes site-limits cannot be moved aside for passing a bottleneck”, Florian Straßer says. The consequence: long detours.

Taking a look at what awaits shippers and consignees of project cargo located in the Southern German region, they say: “Between 2018 and 2023 the highway A 3 is under construction. We expect tough traffic restrictions for the transportation of project cargo during that time.” But they take it easy as “there is a good alternative”.


Related articles