What is RIS


River Information Services (RIS) is a set of harmonized information services that support traffic and transport processes in inland navigation. Using these tools, traffic safety improves and transport efficiency is enhanced. RIS focuses on the exchange of traffic and transport related information between all Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) stakeholders.

Numerous services relevant to RIS are already sustained, particularly the use of Notices to Skippers (NtS), the Electronic Reporting of voyage-, cargo- and persons on board (ERI), Inland Electronic Navigational Charts (IENC) on board and the Automatic Identification System (AIS) for vessel tracking and tracing.
With the EuRIS platform, another step forward has been made in providing RIS.

The objectives of RIS 

The development of RIS started in the ‘90’s with the following objectives: 

  • Enhancement of safety in inland ports and rivers.
  • Enhance the efficiency of inland navigation - optimize the resource management of the waterborne transport chain by enabling information exchange between vessels, locks and bridges, terminals and ports.
  • Better and more efficient use of the inland waterway infrastructure - providing information on the status of fairways.
  • Environmental protection - providing traffic and transport information for an efficient calamity abatement process.
  • Better integration of IWT into multimodal supply chains trough accurate and timely information to support transport management.

Legal and common framework 

Since 2005, a EU framework directive provides minimum requirements for RIS implementation and agreed RIS standards to enable cross-border compatibility of national systems. Comprehensive and international guidelines for RIS are continuously developed to harmonize the existing standards for particular river information systems and services within a common framework.

The policy importance of RIS is presented in various EU policy papers, i.e. EC White paper, TEN-T Guidelines, NAIADES, Logistics Action Plan.

In 2015 the EC launched the Digital Inland Waterways Activity (DINA) initiative as part of the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy of the Junkers Commission. Goal of the DINA initiative is to digitize information flows in IWT with the aim to allow for seamless integration of IWT in multimodal logistic chains.

RIS Services according to the RIS Guidelines

The following services are defined in the RIS guidelines:

  • Information on fairways to plan, execute and monitor voyages by boat masters and fleet managers (e.g., water levels, aids to navigation, fairway information, opening hours of locks etc). The information comprises geographical, hydrometeo, and traffic related data
  • Traffic information services comprise information on vessel positions to allow for tactical or strategic planning
  • Traffic management aims at optimising the use of the infrastructure as well as facilitating safe navigation, especially at VTS Centres, as well as at locks and bridges
  • Calamity abatement services are responsible for registering vessels and their transport data at the beginning of a trip and updating the data during the voyage with the help of a vessel reporting system. In case of an accident, the responsible authorities are capable of providing the data immediately to the rescue and emergency teams
  • Information for transport management includes estimated times of arrival (ETA's) provided by boat masters and fleet managers based on fairway information making it possible to plan resources for port and terminal processes. Information on cargo and fleet management basically comprises two types of information: information on the vessels and the fleet and detailed information on the cargo transported
  • Statistics and customs services: the RIS improves and facilitates the collection of inland waterway statistical data in the Member States
  • Waterway charges and port dues: the travel data of the vessel can be used to automatically calculate the charge and initiate the invoicing procedure.

The most recent information on the state of affairs of the implementation of RIS can be found here https://www.cesni.eu/en