About Us

Back in early 2015, Ton van Meegen, PortLiner’s initiator, recognized the irreversible trend in inland waterways towards emission reduction and greening of the fleet. He has developed solutions that provide PortLiner its competitive “zero emission” edge.

At the time, new regulations were well underway, in particular the EU-driven “Non-Road Mobile Machines” Directive, “Stage V”, succeeding “CCR 1” and “CCR 2”, primarily focussing on air quality (NOx, Particulate Matter). This regulation will enter into force in 2019/2020, for new ships and new engines.


By the end of 2015, the “Paris Agreement” came into place, with world-wide targets on CO2 emission reductions.  This is currently leading to national climate targets that will significantly impact the transport sector, including inland waterways. In the Netherlands, this has led towards a “Green Deal” for the inland waterway sector, signed by a large range of stakeholders in June 2019. The overall Dutch “Climate Agreement”, published on 28 June 2019, features the headlines of Dutch climate policy in the next years and specifying the overall CO2 targets per 2030 and 2050, and allocating “sub targets” for various segments of the economy, including transport.

The overall impression is that very ambitious targets have been set and that all hands will be needed on deck. The inland waterway sector, too, will have to make big steps at short term. 

In a parallel development, there is a fast developing number of large shippers and cargo owners that have strong environmental agendas, aiming for foot print reduction, also in their logistics. This triggers (customers of)  global container carriers and inland terminals to request their logistics providers (such as barge operators) to switch to environmentally more friendly alternatives.

In general, inland waterway transport is an economically competitive alternative to road and rail transport. Usually, it is considered to offer an environment-friendly alternative in terms of both energy consumption and noise emissions. Its energy consumption per km/ton of transported goods is approximately 17 % of that of road transport and 50 % of rail transport. In addition, inland waterway transport ensures a high degree of safety. Finally, it contributes to decongesting overloaded road networks in densely populated regions.


PortLiner is an initiative by Ton van Meegen, Van Meegen Group of Companies.  Van Meegen has a long and outstanding track record in inland waterway transport,  in both freight and passenger transport. This includes the development of new ship design and architecture.

In the past 20 years, Van Meegen has been involved in ship development and (re)building of around 36 ships, with an investment value of over €125m.

Van Meegen Group of Companies is a privately owned and  funded company. Headquartered in Bemmel, the Group unites companies which all together provide overall expertise in inland shipping, mainly covering three fields: river cruises, intermodal transport and ship design & architecture


Ton van Meegen has been in the inland shipping business since 1974. His choice of activity was not a coincidence, for the Van Meegen family has been in shipping since the 17th century. Passionate about ships, Ton van Meegen has developed significant specialist knowledge and has broad and in-depth experience in various fields of  to the maritime industry: ship design & architecture, ship building contracting and supervision (river cargo vessels, river cruise ships and yachts), nautical management and inland shipping operations.