Drivers and Barriers for Inland Waterway Transportation
Journal article, 2020

Inland waterway transportation (IWT) in Sweden could be a substitute for road transports with the prospects of improving the environmental performance. Sweden currently has no systematic strategies or policies for transports on inland waterways (IWW), and despite available capacity the waterways are barely utilized. In the Netherlands, for example, the IWW capacity is embedded in the transport system and utilized to a large extent. For a successful modal shift it is important to understand the drivers and barriers for the shift and develop strategies to leverage the drivers and mitigate the barriers. This study aims to identify drivers and barriers for IWT based on successful benchmark cases in the Netherlands. Furthermore, based on the learning from these benchmarks the study aims to point out strategic actions for Sweden regarding IWT. The data for this study was collected from IWT organizations, shippers and local administrations in the Netherlands. The results showed that main drivers for IWT are congestion relief, cost reduction and lower environmental impact. On the other hand, main barriers are slow pace of development, high investment costs and poor hinterland connectivity. For a successful modal shift in Sweden, it is crucial to prepare governmental support, a change in stakeholders’ mindset, decisive attitude to modal shift process and a strong long-term perspective.

inland waterway transportation

modal shift


intermodal transportation




Violeta Roso

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Ceren Altuntas Vural

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Anna Abrahamsson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics

Matilda Engström


Sara Rogerson

SSPA Sweden AB

Vendela Santén

SSPA Sweden AB

Operations and Supply Chain Management

19793561 (ISSN) 25799363 (eISSN)

Vol. 13 4 406-417

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics



More information

Latest update