Digital Danube creates security for the transport industry

What is crucial for the usability of the Danube waterway, is the exact knowledge of the current condition of its river bed and of the fairway in particular

Digital Danube creates security for the transport industry

In the global trend towards cleaner transport modes and technology, the opportunities for waterway transport are bigger than ever. Inland shipping scores with high loading capacity, relatively stable traffic conditions and a favorable greenhouse gas/performance balance. What is particularly important for the success of waterway transport in Europe’s multimodal transport network is reliable and predictive maintenance.

At the Transport Research Arena – from April 16 to 19 at Messe Wien – viadonau together with specialists from TU Wien/Büro Hoffmann presented the high maintenance and service standard on the Austrian Danube. As a pioneer in digitizing the waterway, the experts also highlighted the great potential of standardised digitized information, maintenance systems and services for the entire Danube with representatives from the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) and the Port of Krems.

The digital Danube creates security – above all for the transport industry. After all, only a waterway that is in a state-of-the-art and accurate manner can be a stable basis for an efficient multimodal transport network in Europe. “With information platforms such as the DoRIS app, viadonau is laying the foundation for our daily business,” explained Gerhard Gussmagg, Managing Director of Rhenus Hafen Krems. Continuously updated data on the condition of the fairway is crucial for efficient planning of transports via the river and thus strengthen the waterway as a reliable transport alternative.

Optimal conditions on the Danube are also considered vital by Markus Simoner, Head of the Waterway Management at viadonau, when it comes to providing a functioning infrastructure for logistics and shipping along the river. Closely involved in the development of WAMS (Waterway Asset Management System), the expert knows exactly the challenges and opportunities of digitizing such a changeable transport system as the waterway.

“Keeping pace with the momentum of a waterway and at the same time taking proactive measures, ie solving problems before they take effect, is hard to imagine without meaningful digital systems,” emphasised Markus Simoner; Head of Waterway Management at viadonau, adding: “In order to provide our customers with an always-usable waterway, digitization is not just one of our key goals, but has long been an integral part of viadonau’s DNA.”

During a presentation by Mario Sattler, senior project manager for information services in inland navigation – RIS – at viadonau, the added value of using digital waterway and traffic information for logistical purposes was pointed out. The digital waterway together with targeted information services form the backbone of the intelligent traffic infrastructure of the Danube for all users of the waterway, from the loading industry to leisure shipping.

According to Statistics Austria, 9.6 million tonnes of goods were transported on the Austrian Danube in 2017- an increase of six per cent or half a million tonnes compared to the previous year. The figures prove the high quality of use and at the same time a solid interest of the transport industry to transport both bulk and general cargo across the Danube – the most frequently transported types of goods include forestry goods and petroleum products as well as ores and metal wastes.