Classically the Rhine region has seen a lot of container transport, but over time other canals and rivers have seen container terminals pop up. In addition, smaller sea ports have essentially become inland ports with the rise of main ports like Rotterdam and Antwerp. The bigger ships (20 000+ containers) are received there, and then distributed onto smaller feeders or barges that will then hop to the various smaller ports in the region. If you look at a map of inland terminals in the Netherlands, you can get to virtually anywhere within a range of 50km over water. In Belgium they are trying to alleviate the heavy truck traffic in the Antwerp region by offloading this traffic onto trains and barges. Even in places where only narrow or shallow canals are available, smaller barges will take 12 to 24 trucks of the road at a time.
It's incredible how much potential there still is to take trucks off the road and use water transportation instead. It's much better in terms of CO2 emitted, and it's also a lot cheaper. It's just harder to plan, since there is inflexibility in destinations, you need last-mile trucking, and the total transport will usually be a lot slower. All in all difficult, but solvable problems. Most of these are information problems and that's what my employer is trying to solve in software :)
The third largest port of Europe, Hamburg, is 110 kilometers away from the coast.
Somewhere on my todo list is a more detailed one with North American coverage. (But the list is long.)
- A better future
- The other side (this was on a ferry, so fair enough.)
- Oh hi
Seems like it's more or less a free-form text field.
Incidentally, the inland waterways of the US would probably have much more freight traffic if the Jones Act didn't make it illegal to use foreign-built vessels for traffic between US ports: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_Marine_Act_of_1920#Ca...
What's the point? Just get a boat. There are many cheap boats, many people live on them. Check https://www.yachtworld.com/ http://www.cruisersforum.com/ https://sailinganarchy.com/ for a start. Roughly <=USD$20K will get you something that floats and 1-2 people can live in cramped but OK.
Usually this is not too big of an issue when transporting cheap bulk goods, but especially food and other perishables (flowers!) are difficult when it comes to transportation over water.
It's quite curious how the Europe is the only place with real inland shipping networks over water, other regions do not even come close in terms of amount of cargo transported, even though the natural resources are often there. The rest of the world pretty much relies on trains and trucks to transport cargo. There is quite some room for disruption here, but it's a hard an capital intensive market to break into.
EDIT: To come back to your point about people, they often value time quite highly. Not very many people take a ship to travel the world anymore, even though there is a lot of the earth reachable by the sea. Natural resources is only one part of the equation, and usually the trade-off is between time and money.
But other than that, ships (with speeds of up to 100 km/h for fast hydrofoils but rarely for the whole trip) are always going to be slower than trains (usually much faster than 100 km/h).
As an example, Vienna-Budapest used to be served by hydrofoil for a 6-hour trip, which takes 2 and a half hours by train. Calais-Dover is also a good example of how train is faster than ship (30 minutes vs 1h30), even in this instance of a very straight route for the ships.
I like taking a boat when I have the option, but it's rarely actually a more practical option than the train. It can be better than a bus though.
Do Calais-Dover ferries sell things on board? I imagine that the ferries in the Baltic Sea have no incentive to cut journey times, because so much of their profits come from getting people to eat, drink, and buy booze on board. Passengers need time to wander through the onboard shops and restaurants.
And soon, possibly the return of duty free.
That sounds cool, but yes, not competitive unless you are looking for the enjoyment of being on a boat.
More practically, Vienna-Bratislava is 59 or 66 minutes by train, 75 minutes by boat. Depending on your exact departure and destination points, that might actually save a few minutes.
So, unless you are looking for a tour of the steel-and-concrete locks of the Danube, the hydrofoil trip may not be for you.
Having done a few Barge Holidays in the UK on a 72 foot narrow boat the slow speed is relaxing, though doing the Tardebigge Flight (30 locks) is hard work.
Also being able to park the barge in front of the RSC and get tickets to see Kenneth Branagh was a highlight of one holiday
And I'm fairly certain you can sail from Bordeaux to Marseille, inland.
I think you are thinking about the "Canal du Midi", which is still a quite famous construction work form the 17th century: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canal_du_Midi
I've seen some big ships in parts of the broads, and the Manchester shipping canal is for, well, ships.
And yes I was thinking of the Canal du Midi.
Also they forgot the modern waterway Göta Kanal in Sweden.