Inland waterway and port sector message to EU institutions

02 April 2024

On the occasion of the Connecting Europe Days, the inland waterway and port sector handed over their manifesto to Magda Kopczyńska, director general of DG MOVE in the European Commission.

The inland waterway transport and port sector is advancing towards climate neutrality and resilience. Ensuring climate safety presents a significant challenge, one that we are fully committed to addressing with your full support.

Simultaneously, our focus is on digitalisation and automation of our infrastructure, equipment, and vessels. This will not only enhance more safety within the sector but also renders it more appealing to newcomers while facilitating seamless integration into multimodal supply chains.

Taking out bottlenecks in inland waterway transport and ports extends benefits well beyond the confines of the sector itself. A durable shift towards waterways promises to sustain Europe’s mobility, alleviate urban traffic congestion, and bolster the competitiveness of key European industries, spanning from agribusiness to chemicals and renewables.

The forthcoming years are pivotal for delivering tangible outcomes. We advocate for a sustainable investment climate alongside a legal framework that boosts innovation. We therefore call upon the European Commission and Member States to collaborate with us for solutions on 5 key priorities, in a nutshell: 

  1. Ensuring consistent and substantial investment in infrastructure, supported by CEF3, to fortify reliable and climate-resilient waterborne supply chains, encompassing small and large projects.
  2. Implementing multimodal shift policies to divert bulk and voluminous cargo away from our congested roads.
  3. Establishing a robust digitalisation and automation framework that ensures seamless interoperability across borders.
  4. Launching a fleet innovation support programme, bolstered by transition funding, to prioritise the availability of sustainable and affordable fuels and refueling network.
  5. Modernising legislation for crewing and professional qualifications to align with the dynamic evolution of the sector and attract fresh talent.

We look forward to collectively addressing these priorities and to paving the way for a sustainable, resilient, and thriving future for the inland waterway transport and port sector, contributing significantly to Europe’s economic vitality and environmental stewardship.

Inland waterway and port sector message to EU institutions

Transport by water