As a first step a high-level vision document was elaborated within the DIWA project that provided in addition the strategic means, goals and challenges based on the vision documents of the EC, National Fairway Authorities and IWT stakeholders and was structured in thematic areas. Since the drafting of the DIWA proposal several (inter)national initiatives, related to digitalisation, have evolved that are affecting IWT and are relevant for the execution of DIWA and have been considered.
This DIWA vision is aimed at ensuring that the European Union is able to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by digital technologies in the waterway transport sector. It is hoped that this vision will ensure that the digital transformation of the fairway authorities is carried out in a harmonised, cost-effective, secure and sustainable manner.
In the digitalisation roadmap the five identified thematic areas are highlighted together with the main related measures to accomplish the envisioned goals by a time horizon of 2032.
Digitalisation can improve the safety of IWT operations in the future by monitoring vessels in a “digital twin” of the fairway or in real-time thus allowing shippers and authorities to detect unsafe practices and take preventive measures.
Finally, digitalisation can also help to improve the efficiency of IWT operations. Digital solutions can enable the tracking of vessels and goods, allowing for the optimisation of routes and the reduction of waiting times. This can reduce the amount of time, energy and resources used in the transport of goods, resulting in fewer emissions and inland shipping can be seamless integrated in the multimodal transport chains.