New information system tested on Danube

SLOVAKIA has been testing a new European river information system, IRIS, on the Slovak part of the Danube River for three months.

Rush-hour on the Danube: a new river information system should make tracking ships easier. Rush-hour on the Danube: a new river information system should make tracking ships easier. (Source: Sme - Pavol Funtál)

SLOVAKIA has been testing a new European river information system, IRIS, on the Slovak part of the Danube River for three months.

Parts of the system operate in the Netherlands and Germany and the role of the pilot project in Slovakia is to prepare the whole system for real-time 24/7 operation. The system has been working under trial conditions since last October without any problems, said Peter Žitňanský, the project manager in Slovakia. Preparation for its full operation should be completed in May of this year.

The project’s goal is to expand river information services in the European waterway network in the Danube Region and on the Rhine and Seine Rivers.

Thanks to the system, the navigation control centres in Bratislava, Gabčíkovo, Komárno and Štúrovo are able to monitor the movement and course of ships on the Danube in Slovakia.

Implementation of the project will cost about €1 million, said Žitňanský.

The system, which also includes the electronic exchange of information about inland water transport, should be fully functional in Slovakia - after approval of the draft revision on inland navigation - from June of this year.

Transport Minister Ľubomír Vážny added that forwarding and haulage companies will also be able to use it.

“At the moment we can monitor ships that are equipped with this system, from Štúrovo to Bratislava and through the borders,” said Žitňanský. “Our base station in Bratislava is also able to monitor ships in Austria,” he told SITA.

The IRIS system could also encourage transport on the Danube River in Slovakia, Ľubomír Palčák, the director of the Transport Research Institute (VÚD) based in Žilina, said.

River transport has great potential, which Slovakia can exploit since it is currently under-used, Palčák said. River transport is suitable for bulk cargoes but takes longer than railway or road transport. The IRIS system is designed to cut transport times, Palčák added.

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