Energy-efficient navigation or smart steaming is the concept of navigating in the most optimal way. This can be done by taking into account the interactions between vessel and engine characteristics, fairway parameters and vessel speed. Energy consumption can be reduced by adaption of the speed profile of the vessel to the waterway profile, considering the following measures:
– Speed (power) adaption in dependence of water depth, fairway width and (counter)-current;
– Choice of the optimum sailing track, i.e. the path with the best optimum between water depth and stream velocity;
– Provision of the needed information to the skipper in an efficient and user-friendly way. 
One of the best-known examples of a programme stimulating energy-efficient navigation is ‘Voortvarend Besparen’. Voortvarend Besparen was established by the Dutch government to create awareness on the possibilities of energy-efficient navigation. Part of this programme was the implementation of a training for skippers, a competition on fuel reduction and a subsidy for the purchase of fuel consumption meters. Since 2011, this programme has been managed by Expertise- and Innovation Centre Barging (EICB). New elements created by EICB were the development of the training in an e-learning course and a smartphone app (Econaut) for the registration and monitoring of the fuel consumption and carbon footprint (in CO2 per tkm) of a vessel.
In several other projects also activities were initiated regarding energy-efficient navigation. In Germany, Topofahrt is a training in energy-efficient navigation, coordinated by Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems (DST). Similar to the class-room training Voortvarend Besparen, the training consists of a theoretical and a practical part. The latter performed on a ship simulator. Recently, DST has performed a research project ‘Smart steaming’, aiming at the ‘development of a relation-oriented control system for the reduction of fuel consumption in inland navigation’.
Actual water depth measurements are important for energy-efficient navigation. Measurements were done in projects like NEWADA DUO. The concept of an advising tool for the skipper was part of research performed in former research projects, like CREATING (advising tempomaat) and MoVe-IT! / COVADEM (Economy Planner and collaborative water depth measurement). Until present, only tools were developed which only partly cover the concept of energy-efficient navigation.
Within the European research project PROMINENT, it is foreseen to develop an energy-efficient navigation tool as well as an e-learning course. In the tool the actual hydrologic data will be taken into account to give a skipper advice on the best track and speed. As part of the research an ex-ante cost-benefit analysis was performed. This analysis was based on the outcomes of the before-mentioned projects, assuming an average fuel savings of around (up to) 14%.
 Viadonau et al. (2015), D2.4 Ex-ante cost/benefit analysis of business cases for energy-efficient navigation. PROMINENT.
EU-Wide Strategy for Innovation Uptake in Inland Waterway Transport (IWT), (09/03/2017, EIBIP)