ReNEW (Resilience-centric smart, green, Networked EU Inland Waterways) aims to play a key role in the transition of inland navigation – to a smart, green, sustainable and climate resilient sector. The consortium consists of parties from as many as 12 different countries. Several living labs will test solutions, including one in Ghent. Here, a multimodal city hub will be built, supported by a digital twin. VIL will test the scale potential of the elaborated innovations and make policy recommendations.

status: Running | theme: Digital transformation, Hinterland Connection | type: European

The European Green Deal, the Paris Agreement and the CCNR Mannheim Ministerial Declaration represent key policy ambitions for the transition to climate-neutral waterborne transport with a vision of developing and demonstrating low-emission solutions by 2030. As climate change strongly affects the performance of inland navigation, the creation and testing of new solutions for both climate neutral and climate resilient inland navigation is a priority.

The resilience of the inland navigation system partly depends on the reliability of the infrastructure and the inland navigation fleet. Furthermore, due to the increasing dynamics, heterogeneity and complexity of inland navigation systems, it is increasingly difficult for the system to cope with serious predictable events and especially with unexpected events.

The digitization of the transport sector is seen by the European Commission as a key enabler for smart solutions that can support the resilience and sustainability of inland navigation and deliver economic, environmental and societal benefits. Industrial data space, simulation and Digital Twins (DTs) have gained prominence in various domains in recent years (e.g. Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing , Intelligent Transport and Smart Cities). Simulation and DTs are used to predict outcomes and assess what-if scenarios. This leads to better real-time optimization of processes and operations. Thus, DTs can be a decision support system for industry to achieve resilience and system decarbonization based on cross-domain modeling standards and innovative architectures.

Furthermore, it is also important to have the right infrastructure that can flexibly handle unexpected events and provide a link between inland navigation and other transportation modes so that proposed solutions resulting from simulations and the DT can be effectively implemented.


  • Create a decision framework, including resilient and sustainable quantification, to support strategic planning and operational optimization for green inland navigation.
  • Innovative infrastructure solutions with a focus on rapid set-up infrastructure in disruptive events to link with other modes of transportation and inland navigation.
  • A green and resilient inland navigation “dataspace” and “digital twin” to provide data sharing, monitoring, RIS, traffic management, crisis management and climate action.
  • 4 Living Labs focusing on integrated inland and hinterland infrastructure and resilience of inland navigation. In Flanders there will be a focus on infrastructure and this will be done in a living lab in Ghent.
  • Outreach and scale-up to maximize impact through the European inland waterway transport platform, industrial clusters and leading industrial innovators.

Practical details

Start: September 2022
Total lead time: 36 months

Would you like to know more?

Contact Michiel Bertels (

or have a look at the ReNEW website

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