Discovering innovative inland waterway vessels

02 April 2024

Green inland ships open Connecting Europe Days

On the occasion of the Connecting Europe Days, 3 innovative vessels called at the port of Brussels on 2 April 2024 to showcase technical developments in zero and low carbon navigation and an exhibition highlighted examples of transition and zero-emission technologies as well as new developments in terms of remote control and deployment of innovative technologies in inland waterway transport. 

The event was hosted by the Port of Brussels, the European Barge Union (EBU), the European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP), Inland Navigation Europe (INE), the Inland Waterway Transport Platform (IWT), and the European Commission. It was opened by the Transport Ministers for the Regions of Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia who recognised the sustainable potential of IWT and called for continued Europe wide support, and closed by Magda Kopczyńska, Director-General of DG MOVE, who said: “The future of transport in Europe must be smart and sustainable. Inland navigation stands out as one of the most energy-efficient modes already. We are pushing for a reduction of carbon emissions across all vessels and a seamless integration of inland waterways into the transport chain. Today, I am confident the sector is ready to tackle challenges head-on“.


Realising the Green Deal through IWT

Inland waterway transport (IWT) today is one of the 2 most sustainable modes of transport and recognised by the European Union to receive more freight transport in its modal shift objectives. Inland vessels already today hold a positive record in terms of emissions and are committed to move towards full decarbonisation.

Support for the transformation

The event saw the launch of theInland Waterway Transport  & Ports agenda 2024 onwards manifesto, outlining the objectives of the sector’s attempts and needs to achieve climate neutrality, increasing resilience, improving digitalisation and adopting automation. To achieve such a transformation, substantial investment and appropriate funding schemes are required, combined with consistent policies supporting the shift away from polluting modes of transport as well as the creation of a framework to support digitalisation of the whole IWT value chain. Throughout, innovation support will remain foundational to ensure the necessary technological and operational advancements. 

Discovering innovative inland waterway vessels

Transport by water