Are inland vessels too slow to be competitive?
The question must at least be partly answered with yes:
The average speed of inland vessels is around 15 km/h. Thus, referring to the factor "time" inland waterway transport can often not compete with other modes of transport (even if there are no waiting times at borders as well as no weekend and night travel bans).
Hence, when deciding whether to integrate inland vessels into the transport chain or not the factor time must always be balanced with cost aspects. For sure not all goods can be transported via inland vessel. But when properly planned there is high potential for saving in transporting goods which are flexible in terms of timing via inland vessel.
When the logistics transport chain is optimized, transport times as well as pre- and end-haulage can be additionally reduced. By using RIS - River Information Services (to get actual information on traffic and fairway conditions and for a perfect lock management) tour and loading can be optimized as well.