Barging Waste: Conditions for a Modal Shift

By Marie Douet, Kevin Pereira, Olivier Gavaud

The objectives of sustainable development promote the recycling and reuse of waste products. This splits, however, both the collection and transport of waste into différent fractions, and the delivery of recycled products. At the same time, the privileging of rail and water over road transport demands mass flows. Stakeholders have considered whether inland waterways could offer a reliable solution for waste or processed waste shipments. However, as recycling leads to segregate waste products and split shipments into numerous streams, this could favour road haulage rather than waterborne solutions. Facing these contradictory objectives, stakeholders have managed nevertheless to find a place for inland waterways as part of their logistical systems. This paper highlights the conditions necessary for transport of waste on inland waterways to become a viable and adapted alternative to road transport. Conditions of viability have emerged where there has been a combination of favourable territorial configurations, qualified and motivated entrepreneurs, adapted banks or quays, and sufficient tonnages to justify barge capacities.

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