Good navigation status


A new notion in the TEN-T guidelines
One of the objectives of the Trans‐European Transport Network (TEN‐T) is to ensure that European waterways are well integrated in the European transport system, promoting as much as possible inland navigation as a sustainable transport mode.

The TEN‐T Guidelines stipulate that, by 2030, navigable waterways of European interest have to achieve "good navigation status (GNS)". This means that these waterways have to help in reaching the full potential of inland navigation in Europe. However, the TEN‐T Guidelines of 2013 do not provide a definition for "good navigation status". 

Defining good navigation status for better implementation
A Commission study issued GNS guidelines in 2018 and defined "Good Navigation Status" together with involved member states, river commissions and users as "the state of the inland navigation transport network, which enables efficient, reliable and safe navigation for users by ensuring minimum waterway parameter values and levels of service”.

The Naiades II implementation expert group has a dedicated subgroup to continue the work on "good navigation status (GNS)" in view of the revision of the EU TEN-T Guidelines in 2021. The final report is scheduled for October 2020.

Hydro-morphology and corridor approach
The current TEN-T minimum requirements for inland waterways are 2.5m draught and 5,25m height under bridges. The hydro-morphological characteristics of rivers, canals and lakes make it not always possible to ensure these requirements year round. River commissions and waterway authorities therefore work with reference water levels to enable navigation.

The revision of TEN-T: non-deterioration and enhancement
Future TEN-T policy shall provide an overarching framework for the development of sustainable and climate change resilient waterway infrastructure. It should therefore include a non-deterioration principle and a principle on protection, enhancement and restoration of inland waterways. Given the different hydro-morphological characteristics of waterways across Europe, target values for minimum requirements and good navigation status parameters could be set at corridor level to ensure smooth cross-border navigation.

Quality, performance and resilience for more reliability
The aim is to improve capacity where necesary, but above all quality, performance and resilience in a life cycle approach to guarantee reliability and predictability of the network. Digital support tools are increasingly important in this respect. Waterway authorities advocate that measures helping to achieve good navigation status shall be eligible for EU funding and financing.



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