High consideration for inland waterway transport and ports <

Tuesday 02 Dec 2014 / Gerelateerde tags: Infrastructure 


Inland Navigation Europe (INE), the European Barge Union (EBU), the European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) and the European Skippers’ Organisation (ESO) addressed the letter below to the European Commission and Coordinators calling for high consideration to inland waterway transport and ports.

The EU economy is flatlining. Infrastructure is a key development pillar. Important public investments in this infrastructure are required to restore confidence among private investors and to stimulate growth and competitiveness. This is particularly true for inland waterways and inland ports.
Inland waterways and ports are a crucial asset for EU’s competitiveness in three ways:

  • Tool for industrial development: the competitive edge of key industries in Europe (steel, agro, oil & minerals, aggregates) on the global market heavily relies on cost-effective inbound and outbound shipments of raw materials by waterways impacting the entire onward chain of semi-finished and consumer goods outweighing by far waterways’ transport share of 6% in  the EU. This positive chain effect directly benefits non-waterway countries through more competitive pricing of end products and with it the entire EU economy.
  • Tool for economic growth: in densely populated corridors with strong industry presence, inland waterways keep goods moving by being the only mode of transport with spare capacity avoiding a traffic gridlock when economic growth leads to rising freight volumes again. Investments in waterborne infrastructure serve, besides sustainable transport, regional development and tourism.
  • Tool for sustainable development: waterway transport reduces negative externalities. Investments in waterborne infrastructure serve, besides sustainable transport, biodiversity and integrated water management. 

Given the fact that inland waterway transport has high shares in a number of corridors and an important potential in others, we look forward to seeing Corridor Working Plans that enhance the maximization of these three tools. The Corridor Working Plans should therefore aim at the removal of physical, technical, operational and administrative barriers within inland waterway transport on the one hand and between inland waterway transport and other transport modes via sea and inland ports contributing to sustainable and competitive transport on the other.

EU’s international waterways are comprised in 7 of the 9 core network corridors. The removal of physical, technical, operational and administrative barriers within inland waterway transport and between inland waterway transport and other transport modes will ensure the implementation of the core network and the establishment of quality waterway transport fully integrated in the overall transport system via sea ports and inland ports as aimed by the EU Naiades action plan and the EU white paper on transport.

Recommendations for the Corridor Work Plans:

  • The inland waterway network counts a number of critical bottlenecks. The priority projects should address the removal of the critical issues in line with the bottleneck definition of the CEF regulation (relevance and impact. 
  • Many waterway bottlenecks can be defined as cross-border sections as they are situated in border regions between core nodes and contribute to linking up multimodal routes with strategically important nodes.
  • In the corridor work plans, the sources for funding and financing the projects will be identified. In order to avoid that projects improving the functioning of the corridors as a whole are delayed or cancelled, the max. co-financing rate of 40% shall be considered in particular for those bottlenecks and cross-border connections. A considerable number of sections are longstanding bottlenecks, some presenting serious capacity constraints, others with a high risk of unforeseen shutdowns due to underinvestment and without available bypass. Delay or cancellation would undermine the policy aim of shifting traffic off the road on the one hand and private multimodal investments on the other.
  • Maturity is also an important criterion for prioritisation. At the same time, longstanding critical bottlenecks should receive due attention in terms of mediation and facilitation, when they present a system break affecting the continuity of long-distance or cross-border flows.
  • With regard to the specific corridors, most bottlenecks are well described in the corridor progress reports but the following requires additional attention: in the North Sea Mediterranean corridor, the Declaration of Tallinn should be considered in its entirety covering all defined projects to ensure good accessibility of seaports; the canals connecting basins in Germany should be duly considered in the Orient-East Med corridor and the North Sea Baltic corridor; the Main as connecting river between the Rhine and Danube basin needs to be taken into account in the Rhine-Danube corridor.
  • Besides the critical issues, for inland waterways and inland ports, the reliability of the existing infrastructure and the good navigation status should be an attention point as they result in critical issues and higher costs if overlooked.
  • Multimodal interconnection is crucial for integration of waterways in the transport system. The quality of inland waterway connectivity and non-discriminatory access of freight terminals at ports should be identified to ensure critical interconnection issues are addressed.
  • The implementation of the RIS directive 2005/44 is still incomplete in terms of implementation of legislation and RIS services. To seize the full benefit for safety, sustainability and multimodal optimization, the full RIS deployment should be enhanced. Detailed guidance.
  • Operational and administrative barriers that affect the continuity of long-distance or cross-border flows need to be addressed to enhance removal without delay.
  • The actual demand and the strategic roll-out of technologies that contribute to sustainable transport, such as LNG (which is covered by the ongoing LNG Master Plan TEN-T project) and Shore Side Power need to be fully reflected.
  • Horizontal questions such as the availability of funding for greening of the inland waterway transport fleet and the facilitation of administrative procedures (eFreight) require attention across all corridors.

For detailed guidance: Platina 2 ‘Review of the draft final corridor progress reports from the TEN-T corridor consortia’.

  • Inland Navigation Europe
  • European Barge Union
  • European Federation of Inland Ports
  • European Skippers’ Organisation

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