The Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR), in partnership with the European Commission, hosted on 8 November 2023 an insightful thematic workshop on “Price Formation in Inland Waterway Transport”. The primary objective of this workshop was a comprehensive examination of the various pricing mechanisms within inland navigation freight transport. Particular attention was paid to the historical evolution of these mechanisms and the prospective influence of emerging trends, in particular environmental factors such as low water episodes and the ongoing energy transition.

The workshop addressed various factors influencing price formation, including market structure, type of contracting, acquisition of contracts, competition setting, market segment, and geographical area. It also shared information about price formation in other transport modes. The discussion involved a wide range of actors, from inland vessel operators, shippers, multimodal operators, freight forwarders, brokers, cooperatives, and banks, to institutes publishing information about freight rates, and ports.

The workshop featured presentations and interactive Q&A sessions, delving into price formation in various segments like dry bulk, liquid bulk, and container transport. Speakers included Hugues van Honacker from DG MOVE, European Commission, and Lucia Luijten from the CCNR Secretariat. The discussions also explored the impact of price formation on transport mode choice and shippers’ practices.

Daisy Rycquart, Secretary of the Innovation and Greening Committee of the European IWT Platform and Director of CITBO, underlines the importance of the workshop. She highlights the constructive discussion between all parties in the chain, from banks to shippers to skippers and to policymakers. Their insights added a unique perspective to the proceedings.

The workshop was one more step towards understanding the dynamics of price formation in inland waterway transport. It provided a platform for stakeholders to share their views and discuss potential trends that may affect the sector in the future. The knowledge gained from this workshop will undoubtedly contribute to the development of sustainable and efficient Pan-European transport systems with a larger share of inland waterway transport.