Our vision


The EU plans to go climate neutral and climate resilient by 2050 and so will inland waterways.
Expansion of existing land infrastructure is challenging and expensive to meet increasing demand for public transport and city logistics. For centuries, rivers and canals have been arteries for trade and commerce, connecting ports with inland centres of industry, agriculture and consumption.

Clean and smart inland shipping decreases costly congestion in and around cities. At the same time waterways are much more than transport corridors. The waterfront is a shared and climate responsive space where it is good to live, work, enjoy & trade and where burst of activities co-exist.


Making the Green Deal work with inland waterways

Trans-European infrastructure

  • A life cycle approach and performance upgrades of the infrastructure with high service levels ensure the quality of the network across borders;
  • Reliable navigation conditions guarantee punctual arrivals and swift transfers to other modalities;
  • Free capacity on waterways relieves clogged land routes.

Climate neutral operations and supply of clean energy

  • All freight ships, from large to small sail on zero-emission sources/carriers;
  • Clean waterbuses, watertaxis and cruises enhance sustainable mobility for people;
  • Clean energy & refueling infrastructure is available and well accessible at berths along waterways, in ports and port facilities;
  • New locks are standardly equipped with hydropower turbines ensuring zero-emission lock operations;
  • Inland ports produce, store and supply clean fuels to all modes of transport;
  • The waterway network links up with energy grids and vessels contribute to equalize the energy grid;
  • Inland ports, floating wind farms and locks provide renewable energy to surrounding households and industry.

Supporting a clean and circular economy

  • Waterside port areas are eco-industrial sites and recycling hubs attracting innovative circular economy based industry;
  • Circular processing ensures that products and materials are put back into the chain;
  • This creates closed loops facilitated by water transport solutions;
  • Ships are 100% recyclable.

Automated and connected to boost modal shift

  • The network is equipped with fast mobile broadband coverage;
  • Smart sensors support continuous monitoring and diagnosis and optimize the rehabilitation and regeneration of infrastructure and assets in a life cycle approach;
  • The smart infrastructure network is planned, managed and organised using open data;
  • Inland waterway transport is sailing paperless and data are interoperable across transport modes on a “one record, once only” basis making inland waterway transport easy-to-use in synchro-modal operations;
  • Automated freight and passenger solutions are user-centric, adaptive and integrated across modes through ports while respecting data privacy and ensuring cybersecurity.

Adapted to climate change and preserving biodiversity

  • Integrated water management ensures reliable navigation, water supply and protection, habitat and water quality at the same time;
  • Climate-resilient design keeps waterway transport fit-for-purpose and protects people and businesses against floods and droughts;
  • Water basins and wetlands store water to regulate water levels in dry and high water periods;
  • Locks are equipped for efficient use of water and help to regulate water levels;
  • Estuaries, wetlands, rivers, lakes and canals host a rich fauna and flora;
  • Smart infrastructure such as fish passes ensure the migration of fishes upstream and downstream.



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