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Modal shift to inland waterways: dealing with barriers in two Swedish cases

Journal article
Authors Sara Rogerson
Vendela Santén
Martin Svanberg
Jon Williamsson
Johan Woxenius
Published in International Journal of Logistics Research and Applications
Volume 23
Issue 2
Pages 195-210
ISSN 1367-5567
Publication year 2020
Published at Centre for Sea and Society
Department of Business Administration, Industrial and Financial Management & Logistics
Centre for Environment and Sustainability
Northern LEAD
Pages 195-210
Language en
Keywords Modal shift, inland waterway transport, barriers, inland waterways
Subject categories Business Administration, Transport Systems and Logistics


This paper analyses strategies to overcome barriers to a modal shift to inland waterway transport (IWT). Barriers identified in research literature have been categorised as regulatory, financial, service quality and market characteristics. Using two cases involving Swedish entrepreneurs initiating IWT, this paper has shown how barriers to the modal shift to IWT can be managed where markets are limited. Modal shift involves multiple actors, and the entrepreneurs interacted with ports, shippers, shipping companies, regulatory actors, forwarders and hauliers, depending on the barrier. Strategies to manage barriers included negotiating, educating stakeholders, securing volumes, conducting a proof-of-concept run and identifying business opportunities for stakeholders. The findings can increase stakeholders’ knowledge of IWT. Policy makers aiming to promote modal shift must understand that fees and legislation act as barriers.

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