From road to water

The reactivation of small inland waterways by introducing a new concept for inland waterway transport.

About Watertruck

What is Watertruck?

Watertruck is an innovative concept for goods transport on small waterways (CEMT I-IV) that can unlock the economic potential of a region through the use of small, self-propelled or unpropelled, standardised barges

Combined with large or small environmentally friendly barges, used for convoy transport, the concept ensures maximum flexibility of operations while maintaining maximum regional coverage by connecting small inland waterways with the TEN-T network

The Watertruck concept provides a universal standard design for various types of small inland barges that can be modified to satisfy the operational requirements of a specific goods flow (cargo flow) Propulsion, hatches, lifting (pumping) systems, a small crane, etc. can be added or removed without having a major impact on the overall hull structure.

The standard barges are designed to ship various types of goods and to have an increased carrying capacity (both in terms of weight as well as volume).

The operational and economic feasibility of the concept was investigated during the Interreg project Watertruck that was executed between 2010 and 2014. Herewith was stated that there is a need for innovation and for a masterplan for the future of transport on small waterways within Europe, that will improve the competitive position towards road transport.


The Watertruck+ project, a TEN-T/CEF-project, aims to achieve a solution that is complementary to the existing inland waterways. The aim is to equip the market with business cases for a large European fleet of vessels by rolling out the Watertruck concept in various European regions.

As a first step, certain standards are to be developed to improve the interoperability of the vessels, both in terms of sailing area as well as cargo type. Within this first stage of the European rollout, a small fleet shall be built up and deployed in a trial phase, in which a specified volume of goods will be shipped each year.

The vessels are specifically built for use on identified goods flows. The aim of the project is to use the new Watertrucks on goods flows that are not transported by the existing fleet, thereby increasing the market share of inland waterways in the European modal split.

In addition, the construction of the vessels shall be subject, during the execution of the test phase, to a best efforts obligation to lower the CO2 emission by at least 25% in comparison to the emissions of the existing inland waterways fleet, and to achieve a harmful substances emission level that at least satisfies the emission criteria of EURO VI standards for road transport, or equivalent.

This trial phase shall provide us with more information about:

These parameters shall be combined with a financial toolbox. This financial toolbox shall comprise available financial tools that will support the roll-out of the concept in Europe. The operational parameters and the financial toolbox will result in a master plan consisting of business cases for the new construction of a fleet of Watertrucks throughout Europe, under the impulse of private investments.Under the stimulus of private investments, the emergence of a large fleet of uniform, standardised vessels on the market that are capable of modular deployment, will transform the nature of the sector. A large fleet of Watertrucks shall thereby become a standard investment within the inland waterways transport sector (comparable to investments in goods trailers in road transport), rather than a one-time investment based on a specific situation (such as customised vessels designed to handle a specific region or cargo flow).


Watch the Watertruck+ animation movie

Call II Watertruck+ operators (closed)

Publication Date: September 16, 2016

The board of directors of Watertruck+ bvba has decided to initiate a second market consultation in order to have extra operators involved into the project.

Via this link, you can find all specifications on this open call, indicated as Call II.

Applicants are invited to submit their application by October 10, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

Call construction Watertruck+ (closed)

Publication date: July 14, 2016

As a first step, certain standards will be established in order to reduce production costs and improve the interoperability of the vessels, both in terms of sailing areas and in terms of cargo type. The standard design for different sizes of barges will be developed.

As a first step in the trans-European rollout, a small fleet of (self-propelled) barges and pushers will be constructed and deployed in a large-scale trial phase, shipping a dedicated volume of cargo per year.

The first steps within the award procedure have been taken.
Hereby the link to the contract notice of the push barges and the pushers.

Deadline for receipt of candidacies is August 12th at 15:00.

The results of the trial phase will be combined with a financial toolbox, to create a Master Plan which will contain business cases for the construction and financing of a large European fleet of Watertruck+ vessels.



Watertruck+ @ TEN-T Days

Ten-T From June 20 to June 22, Watertruck+ was present at the TEN-T Days in Rotterdam. Amongst different representatives within the navigation sector, we also welcomed Flanders’ minister for mobility Ben Weyts at our booth.


02/05 – Technical information session: 24-26 May 2016, Gorinchem

As from 2017, 31 vessels will be constructed. Therefore, the Watertruck+ partners wish to consult the market with regards to the latest innovations in inland navigation. Market players who offer innovative services or products in any of the above categories, are invited to present their company, services and/or products to the Watertruck+ partners during the Technical info and review sessions which will take place on May 24th-26th at the venue of the Maritime Industry conference in Gorinchem (NL). Click here for more information.

26/03 – The Flemish Government has given permisson for the creation of a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ (SPV) that will introduce Watertruck+ on a large scale on Flemish waterways.

The goal of this ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ (SPV), that exists of the Flemish waterway authorities, Waterwegen en Zeekanaal nv en nv De Scheepvaart, and Flanders Institute for Mobility (VIM), is to ensure that Watertruck+ will take shape quickly. Concrete, the SPV will build a fleet of three push boats and 28 push barges. The structure of this SPV allows private partners to participate into the project.





Watertruck+ bvba
Oostdijk 110
B-2830 Willebroek
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